An alcohol-free campus in 2030?

TU/e has set up a working group to look at whether and how its policy on alcohol should be revised. An alcohol-free campus could then become one of the options. What would the average student and employee think of this? The beer has always flow(ed) liberally in the drinking haunts of the study associations and at the outdoor bars in our green spaces. And on the cafe terrace at Hubble, the Student Sports Centre and De Zwarte Doos.

photo George Rudy / Shutterstock

The National Prevention Agreement has provided the prompt for reviewing the university's alcohol policy. Its signatories include the Association of Research Universities in the Netherlands (VSNU). It is expected that in the second half of 2021 a proposal will be available that can be discussed with the Executive Board. Students can still give their input by way of a questionnaire produced by the Trimbos Institute. This is used to inform the 'monitor' regarding substance use among young people. The survey results, together with the findings of a study conducted by RIVM about young people's well-being, will be taken into account in the policy review, says Ivo Jongsma, TU/e's policy spokesperson.

No random survey

Contact with the Trimbos Institute, the independent knowledge institute for alcohol, tobacco, drugs and mental health, reveals that the questionnaire serves as input for the 'monitor'. Data is collected from March 1st through April 30th. This questionnaire provides the opportunity to ask students about their mental health and substance use. "TU/e has decided to open the questionnaire to all students at TU/e," reports Annemarie Urselmann, manager student facilities at Education and Student Affairs (ESA) . "We are participating as an institution and hope that as many students as possible will participate in order to get the best possible picture of the Eindhoven situation. We are not doing a random survey."Themes addressed each year include alcohol-free beer, the setting when drinking, and motivation for drinking. Besides alcohol, other issues are addressed with questions on drugs, loneliness, stress, depression and other mental health issues.

Employees and alcohol

This is not the first time that TU/e's alcohol policy has been the subject of discussion. Back in early 1989 Cursor reported in its then paper publication on measures to limit alcohol use at the university. At that time the measures under discussion were aimed mainly at the workforce, some of whom were no longer able to do their jobs properly due to excessive alcohol consumption.

The Trimbos Institute is arguing that universities of applied sciences and universities should have a clear general policy on alcohol, program manager Ninette van Hasselt tells Cursor. TU/e spokesperson Jongsma informs us that "TU/e has no general alcohol policy, but that agreements are reached for each building or event."

Cursor is curious to know what students and employees think of this subject. Should a general alcohol policy be introduced, should alcohol be banned entirely from the campus, or should things stay as they are? On Instagram we are polling opinion on this subject.


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