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Guest blog: NUS Alcohol Impact sign-ups 2017-18


As you might have heard, NUS Alcohol Impact is a whole-institution programme to create the conditions for a social norm of responsible alcohol consumption by students. It is a strategic framework and supported accreditation mark designed to bring higher education institutions and students’ unions together in partnership. Further information here.

The programme takes a social change theory approach to tackling cultures of irresponsible drinking, ultimately reducing harm to students, improving welfare, well-being and academic achievement, creating more inclusive spaces, and enhancing the student experience.

Participating institutions and students' unions work through a list of criteria ranging from shaping alcohol policy, to working in partnership with local community groups and residents. An online workbook provides resources and highlights areas of good practice.

As part of the mandatory criteria Alcohol Impact institutions develop steering groups which lead on the project work and develop strategic influence. This year, steering groups have involved a range of internal and external partners such as students, welfare and commercial teams, student services, academics and local police, NHS, and substance misuse services to work towards embedding an institution-wide approach to responsible alcohol consumption.

Each year institutions and students’ unions involved in Alcohol Impact promote a survey to their students to help NUS build a picture of student attitudes and experiences linked to alcohol consumption, and also to track long-term trends in alcohol-related attitudes and behaviours. Since the launch of the survey over three years ago, 36,000 students have completed it.

This year, institutions used statistics from the central NUS students and alcohol survey to influence student social norms about drinking attitudes and behaviours. Two videos were produced by Keele University and Students’ union. Students were asked to guess the answers to various questions about students and drinking in order to address their misconceptions (see below):

University of the West of England academics, with expertise in social norms mark