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Durham University

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Award recognises commitment to responsible drinking

(19 June 2018)

The National Union of Students (NUS) has awarded Durham University and Durham Students’ Union its ‘Alcohol Impact’ accreditation.

The award recognises three years of partnership between the University and the Union to promote responsible alcohol consumption, improve students’ welfare and wellbeing, and create a more inclusive environment.

The Alcohol Impact programme led to valuable collaboration with the Durham Drug and Alcohol Recovery Service, which assigned trainers to work with Durham students and staff, as well as substance misuse advisors to provide support within the University’s Counselling Service.

‘Have a Word’

The University’s and Union’s respective ‘Have a Word’ alcohol intervention project and ‘Never Have I Ever’ campaign have been at the centre of this joint effort.

Durham University is the first university to use the Public Health ‘Have a Word’ scheme – working with the Durham Drug and Alcohol Service and around 50 key figures in Durham’s student community to adapt this training for students.

The new Durham version of the programme has been rolled out to student leaders, including Common Room officers and sports captains, to increase their understanding of alcohol, identify peers whose drinking might affect their health, and recognise appropriate moments to advise how to reduce risk and access support.

Last year, over 130 Freshers’ Representatives attended the training, which local police praised as “invaluable in ensuring that new students enjoyed a safe night out”.

‘Never Have I Ever…’ 

Durham Students’ Union’s ‘Never Have I Ever…’ campaign used social and in-print media, as well as pop-up events and bar visits, to try to change students’ attitudes to drinking.

Based on the popular drinking game of the same name, the ‘Never Have I Ever…’ campaign encouraged students never to be “‘that friend’ who’s too drunk to get into the club” and not to leave their friends alone after a night out drinking or let them walk home by themselves.

Following the campaign, independent surveys showed a significant increase – 15% – of students choosing not to walk home alone after a night out.

Celebrating the announcement of the NUS ‘Alcohol Impact’ accreditation, Durham University’s Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Colleges and Student Experience), Owen Adams, said: “This award is testament to the excellent work by our University, the Students’ Union, and Drug and Alcohol Recovery Service to create a positive culture of responsible drinking and, ultimately, a healthier, safer, and more productive student community.”

Durham Students’ Union Welfare and Liberation Officer, Rosa Tallack “The award recognises our commitment to creating a safer, more inclusive community and a continuing need to address the issues surrounding alcohol culture at Durham.

“I’m really pleased with the hard work Durham SU and the University has put into tackling these issues, and look forward to seeing this partnership build on this work in the future.”


Durham University and the Durham Students’ Union received the Alcohol Impact accreditation following a detailed inspection by NUS-trained student auditors.

The NUS introduced the Alcohol Impact programme in an effort to make responsible drinking the norm, and to offer a framework and certification of a whole institution’s commitment to the sensible consumption of alcohol.

Related links

Drinking responsibly

Getting home safely

Counselling Service