As students, drinking, binge drinking and the strawpedo have become ingrained within our culture and our reputation. However, whether or not the stereotype fits, every single student has to deal with the fallout and the consequences of our, rather clichéd, notoriety.
Nobody understands the real consequences of the student stereotype more than Edinburgh University students; who have recently come under fire due to their boozy antics. The Student’s Union has taken the extreme step of enforcing rules upon students, regarding the way in which they choose to drink their alcohol. The university has banned the act of ‘strawpedoing’ alcopops in the Union, claiming that they have had to put the rule in place in order to uphold their own responsibilities regarding the licensing laws that they have to adhere to!
What on earth is ‘Strawpedoing’?
Now, if you’re not totally up to date on the student scene, the act of strawpedoing involves downing a bottle of alcohol using a straw to allow the liquid to be replaced by air. Sounds fun right? However, this essentially means that the usual vacuum is not created and the straw makes it easy and effective to drink an alcopop in a few seconds rather than a few minutes. The act of strawpedoing has become increasingly popular in Unions and clubs all around student towns and cities, allowing students to get drunker faster on a much smaller budget. However, many professionals say that the act of strawpedoing puts students at an even greater risk, due to the potential to drink an incredible amount in such a short space of time.
Aren’t we old enough?
While the Edinburgh Student’s Union say that they’ve enforced the ban due to their responsibility to their licensing laws, the students are outraged. A petition was started and its creators managed to drum up 400 signatures to reverse the new rule in just a few days. Some students have even claimed that the rules enforced upon them are a ‘violation of their human rights’ and there has been an incredible amount of shaming politicians and the coalition for out-dated and unrealistic fears surrounding the student body as a whole and the drinking culture that surrounds students.
However, it is the 21st Century. University students are aged 18 years old and over. In the United Kingdom adulthood is technically and legally classed as beginning at age 18. In this case, so do we really still need people enforcing rules on us about what we still can and can’t do in regards to our own health? Surely we’re old enough to make our own life decisions?
University is the place that you find your independence. Your life choices are often some of the first you’ve ever made without the influence of your parents; and while the intentions of the Edinburgh Student’s Union may be well intended, the effects that they have had are increasingly negative. Unfortunately, as students we often carry a rather negative stereotype, especially where drinking is concerned, binge-drinking is often mis-reported cornering the young student towns as the worst. While the stereotype has to have come from somewhere, is it really fair to enforce rules upon adults regarding the way in which they choose to consume their alcohol? I don’t think it would be tolerated if it was any other age bracket. I think it’s about time students started being allowed the chance to be accountable for their actions, instead of tarring us all with the same brush.