JCR welfare unite in awareness campaign

After several recent reports of drinks spiking around campus, Nouse has officially launched an awareness campaign called ‘Be Aware’.

The campaign, which has been officially supported by the York Student Union Academic and Welfare service, aims to raise the profile of the ensuring that students drink responsibly, and are aware of the dangers of not leaving their drink unattended.
Over the coming months Nouse in accordance with the SU and JCRC’s will be running a series of publications in order to avoid the worst case scenario of drink-spiking related assault on campus. Neil Barnes, Welfare officer for the SU said that he felt campaigning so far had “been very effective – especially with the publicity generated by Nouse”.

The scheme has received widespread support from college reps including Goodricke Chair Matt Burton who said we “fully support the campaign” and in the coming weeks will be looking for “increased publicity in hot spots where drinks may be unattended and at risk to spiking”. He added that Bacardi have offered support to their efforts by putting a drinks calculator under every door in Goodricke.

Another supporter of our campaign is Sam Bayley, President of Halifax college. He said “we encourage all of our students to drink responsibly” and that he advises “all students to take care of their drinks to ensure that campus remains the most safe and enjoyable night out”.

Despite trying to ensure that people are aware of the dangers of drink spiking, recent discussions within the SU have concluded that a more positive attitude towards drinking should be encouraged. This is called the Social Norms approach, which aims to promote responsibly drinking behaviour without using scare tactics such as drinks stirrers.

The scheme advertises itself as beneficial as it “takes the peer pressure away from situations” by removing over-hyped perceptions of how much is socially acceptable to drink according to Social Norms organiser Oliver Smith. Sam Bayley offered his support to the new ideology saying that the “Social Norms is definitely worth a try”. Neil Barnes added the campaign “actively seeks the views of students in regards to social behaviour”

In light of recent events campaigning has been brought to the forefront of student welfare following two separate cases of suspected drink spiking at Derwent as reported by Nouse. In neither case were the students involved harmed, but with a recent survey suggesting that the majority of students do not feel in danger of being drink spiked, the issue has become a matter of importance.

Since then the Students Union has used a number of methods to attempt to inform students of the need to be more careful at campus events. This includes SU officials ‘spiking’ drinks with drinks stirrers warning them not to leave their drink alone.
However the recent survey carried out by Nouse in our last edition has brought the campaign into question, with a large percentage of students admitting to not looking after their drinks at campus events.

By Daniel Whitehead NEWS EDITOR

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