Eindhoven student associations to collectively reduce alcohol consumption

Photo: Angeline Swinkels.
Photo: Angeline Swinkels.
"We want to preserve what is going well but prevent excesses and encourage people to hold one another accountable."

On December 4, 21 Eindhoven student associations will sign a covenant primarily to reduce excessive alcohol consumption and to change the culture around alcohol. TU/e helped bring about the initiative and is also among the signatories.

The participating associations believe that it is important to collectively draw a line, particularly to prevent the negative consequences of alcohol consumption, in line with the National Prevention Agreement. The students are concerned not only with the contribution towards health and wellbeing but also with inclusiveness and social safety. The covenant states that students who do not drink should also feel welcome in the student community, as should international students who often come from a different drinking culture.

More specifically, the signatories agree, among other things, that they will not serve alcohol before 16:30 and that they will promote non-alcoholic beverages. In addition, the associations will raise awareness among their members about the risks of excessive drinking, training sessions will take place and an overarching core team will implement and monitor the covenant.

Students Silke Smit and Gabriël Nusselder, along with several other students, took the initiative in creating the covenant. "Our main concern is to counteract excessive alcohol consumption and all of the negative consequences associated with this," says Smit. "We want to preserve what is going well but prevent excesses and encourage people to hold one another accountable. In addition, we want to normalize the choice not to drink. In the longer term, there has to be a cultural change regarding alcohol consumption."

The covenant will be signed by a total of 21 associations that have their own bars, including sports associations, study associations and the general student associations. In addition, TU/e will be a signatory, through which the agreements made will also apply to the entire university, both students and employees. The door is open for other parties related to student life in Eindhoven to join the covenant.

"I’m proud that our students themselves are taking the initiative to ensure responsible alcohol consumption," says TU/e President of the Executive Board Robert-Jan Smits, signing on behalf of the university. "It signals their responsibility, that they are going to hold each other accountable. It is an example to others and, as a university, we are happy to help with this."