Seven universities have agreed to participate in the NUS Alcohol Impact Scheme, which will seek to reward institutions that encourage responsible alcohol consumption and create a safer environment for students.
Loughborough, Nottingham, London Metropolitan, Liverpool John Moores, Swansea and Brighton universities and Royal Holloway, University of London will now be expected to clamp down on initiation ceremonies that involve alcohol, as well as student pub crawls, with an accreditation mark being awarded to the institutions that meet the criteria set by the scheme.
These institutions will also be asked to train their staff on the consequences of excessive alcohol consumption as well as to provide students with alternative ways to socialise that do not involve binge drinking.
Colum McGuire, NUS vice-president (welfare), said: “The project is an extremely positive one that has the welfare of students at its core. It has a range of benefits from reducing crime and disorder, to improving student health and academic outcomes, and enhancing partnerships within local communities.
“We will also aim to encourage responsible retailing and the provision of a broader range of activities as well as effective support services on campus, and by doing so make universities more welcoming for those who do not drink.”
Norman Baker, a minister in the Home Office, said: “Accreditation should become a badge of honour for universities, and another factor which helps promote their world-class teaching and research to prospective domestic and international students.”
The NUS intends to judge the programme’s success by monitoring crime rates for the duration of the scheme, as well as by conducting surveys of students’ experience of alcohol-related crime and disorder.