Are alcohol-free halls right for you?
More students than ever are opting out of the booze fueled university experience. Source: Elevate/Unsplash

While wild parties were once synonymous with university, the tide is rapidly turning. More students than ever are opting out of pub crawls and nightclubs in favour of a decent night’s sleep and an alcohol-free way of life.

To reflect this change in attitude, more and more universities are now offering alcohol-free halls of residence.

Proof of this can be found in one of the biggest student cities in Europe – Manchester, England – which now has three universities that offer quiet and booze-free areas that are reportedly proving very popular.

As alcohol consumption remains in long-term decline among young people while ethnic and cultural diversity increases among the student population, it makes sense that universities are striving to cater to everyone.

To get a feel of the pros and cons of alcohol-free living, the BBC spoke to a few students who’ve been there and done that.

Quiet doesn’t mean boring 

It’s understandable to have some concerns. Perhaps you’re not sure if the quiet life is quite for you. But quiet in no way means boring.

Nineteen-year-old Aberdeen University student, Mohamed, told the BBC he loved living in the university’s alcohol-free accommodation.

“I could still meet lots of people and get involved in activities,” he said.

“Some of my friends went straight into private accommodation and they missed out on stuff because they were living further away from the campus.”

Mohamed is a Muslim and is teetotal on religious grounds. Opting for alcohol-free halls seemed like a no-brainer for him as he had reservations about being in an environment with booze guzzling students.

Is excessive drinking really a rite of passage? Source: Eaters Collective/Unsplash

Find your tribe

It can also give you a better chance of finding like-minded people. If your housemates are out pubbing and clubbing a lot, you may worry that you don’t have anything in common with them.

But that doesn’t mean alcohol-free halls are the right fit for all teetotallers.

Plymouth Marjon student, Georgia, told the BBC that she didn’t want to live anywhere that marked her out as different from her peers.

Despite being teetotal herself, Georgia quickly made friends and found that not drinking really wasn’t an issue.

“I feel like if I’d been in alcohol-free halls I would have been judged by other students when I told them where I lived and subject to more scrutiny about ‘why don’t you drink?’”, she said.

“It could work for some people but I wouldn’t want to be labelled like that.”

Check the university policies

There is, however, some middle-ground as Mohamed found alcohol-free doesn’t have to mean completely teetotal.

Some of his flatmates did drink “but only in moderation,” he said. And people still went out to clubs and parties, they just weren’t noisy on their return.

You do need to be super careful on this though. The policies will change depending on the university and some places, like Roehampton University, will move you into different residences if you drink in your apartment.

It’s a completely personal choice as to whether or not you think booze-free digs is the right move for you. But the general consensus from students who’ve tried it seems to be positive.

All the best bits of a sociable university life coupled with a decent night’s sleep and time to study…what’s not to like?

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