University binge drinking, it’s a bit of an unusual subject to discuss really.
It’s been in the press an awful lot this academic year. This backlash of sorts to someone spotting the work of the student pub crawl company Carnage and then documenting and printing the actions of drunken students across the media. I’m not agreeing with the behaviour shown. But is it really something we as the public need to worry about?
When I went to university, my Father told me some of the drunken stories he could remember from when he was a student. They mainly involved getting heavily intoxicated and doing relatively stupid things. I’ll always remember the phrase; “Drink it or wear it”.
My father was a student in the 70s. I started university in 2005.
In my second year of university, I joined the rugby team. The year before I had taken photos of the sports initiations for the student paper and had seen a glimpse of what university drinking was all about.
I was nervous about what I had seen, as I wasn’t a particularly big drinker at the time, however, I wanted to play rugby and felt that if I wanted to get the most experience out of university, I had to do things that I had never done before and will probably never do again.
From that day until the end of my time as a student I was out drinking with my rugby team several times a week without fail.
Now, Carnage may have never come to my university, but Carnage is one night and one company.
The bigger picture is surely asking if we the public should really be up in arms around the idea of students getting too drunk. I’m not condoning the behaviour published, and granted, the act of public indecency to a war memorial is a crime and should be treated as such (which it is) but what has been published is only a tiny particle of what occurs on student nights out.
What has been found at Carnage events are a few examples which have left them open for a large amount of criticism. That said, there have been about half a dozen incidences published in the media, yet over 1000 students have taken part in these events.
On the Carnage website all of the expected guidelines on staying safe and drinking responsibly can be found, and yes, some revellers will vomit, pass out, be violent and a few may even get arrested during these evenings.
But that doesn’t mean we should stop them from occurring.
As someone who used to work in a Student’s Union Venue, I know all too well what drunken students can get up to.
University is about experiences. Doing things you’ve never done before and will never do again. That doesn’t mean it’s an opportunity to go and break the law but we should encourage our students to get the very most out of their time at university, weather that be via alcohol or through other social experiences.
For many students, it will be their first time living away from home and, in a world where we are working longer and dying older, surely we should get the most out of life while we still can?