Dangers of alcohol highlighted in new college-commissioned video
Questions asked as to whether the £3000 video on drinking safety was really worth the price tag
by Alice Twomey
Monday 8th October 2012, 13:21 BST
A short film has been made which offers advice to students on how to stay safe on nights out and warns of the dangers of drinking too much. The film, which is primarily aimed at international students who might not be familiar with British drinking culture, was commissioned by a senior tutors’ committee and is to be shown to new students. The university developed the film in conjunction with Cambac - Cambridge Businesses Against Crime - in an attempt to promote responsible drinking.
The students presenting the film acknowledge that Cambridge has a drinking culture but insist that it is not compulsory, saying, "There might be rules and traditions but you don’t need to join in unless you want to. Nobody’s going to think less of you if you don’t." Many students at Cambridge colleges adopt a "work hard, play hard" attitude, one presenter says, "but it’s important to remember that playing hard doesn’t necessarily mean drinking hard."
The film also contains advice from an A&E doctor, a nightclub owner and the police. Dr Adrian Boyle reveals in the film that about 40% of the people who arrive at the A&E department of Addenbrooke’s hospital after 12 o’clock are there because of drinking related problems whilst Chief Inspector Neil Sloan discusses the link between binge drinking and anti social behaviour and warns how, "one moment’s madness can be a change of a person’s future as they end up, potentially, with a criminal record."
The presenters of the film offer some common sense advice on how to stay safe on a night out: for instance, drinking plenty of water, walking home in a group and not carrying an excessive amount of cash. They also recommend that students "ditch the gown and tux" before heading out, to avoid standing out as an easy target.
The manager of Cambac, Vicky Hornsby, has welcomed the initiative and described the film as "a great example of a positive partnership between Town and Gown." However, the £3000 production costs, shared amongst participating colleges, have raised questions as to whether this was a worthwhile venture, particularly as it seems to repeat obvious advice that most students will have heard before.
Leanne Baker, welfare officer at Caius college, believes the video raises several important points but adds, "Unfortunately I think there are still many students who will drink and party hard, whatever anyone says. We can only hope that they will remember to be as safe as possible whilst doing so, and hopefully this video will, at the very least, remind students that they do not have to get that drunk in order to have fun."