Drinking is common among University students in the UK. You might feel social pressure to participate, or to test your limits when it comes to alcohol. This can be especially relevant to international students from countries with higher drinking ages, or where drinking is not as common in the culture. Keep in mind that it's totally acceptable not to drink on nights out, especially if you're not comfortable with it, and you can have plenty of fun and enjoy Freshers' Week, nighttime events and St Andrews traditions such as Raisin and May Dip without drinking alcohol.
The Students' Association puts on many daytime events throughout the academic year that don't involve alcohol. These are put on by many of our societies and subcommittees, including the Union's Wellbeing Subcommittee which works to plan welcoming daytime events throughout the year that allow people to meet new people in a relaxed atmosphere.
On the same theme, the feeling of safety that students have about the town can mean that they don’t treat nights out with the same caution as they would in an unfamiliar place or big city, especially when alcohol is involved.
Things to keep in mind for a safe night out:
- Eat before you go out and try to alternate a soft drink or water with every alcoholic drink.
- Keep your wits about you, and if you drink, be careful with the amount of alcohol that you consume.
- Make sure someone knows where you are going, who you are meeting and when you expect to return. Always plan how you are going to get home again.
- Go out with a group, stay with your friends, and look out for one another to make sure you all get home safely.
- Take your phone with you and make sure it's charged.
- Don’t have sexual intercourse with anyone who is unable to give their consent because they are too drunk or under the influence of drugs. In Scots Law this is rape.
- Don't leave your drink unattended.
- More information from Police Scotland's "party safe" page.
Drink spiking can happen at any time and in any company. There is no such thing as being completely safe. Drink spiking can be colourless, odorless and undetectable. If you feel bad unexpectedly, don't just dismiss it as being drunk really quickly, and make sure that you are safe. Remember it can happen to people of any gender. Again, never leave a drink unattended. There are staff in the Students’ Association who will keep an eye on your beverage if you need to go into the bathroom
StAnd Together runs bystander intervention training as part of their "Got Consent?" campaign. This short, discussion-based workshop teaches students about consent and how to keep themselves and one another safe on nights out. It includes tips on how to intervene safely if you see a situation that could turn into a sexual assault. Send an email to dowell@ to inquire about upcoming workshops and learn how to get involved.