As a board member of a student organisation, it is very likely you will have to deal with this subject in your organisation. What do you do if a member of your organisation is often seriously under the influence of alcohol at drinks receptions? Are you allowed to have a beer in the boardroom? And what do you do if you see someone aged 17 with alcohol? HU and UU organise an annual themed meeting to inform board members on this topic.
We held a very useful meeting on alcohol and drugs at the end of 2019. The presentation can be found here (in Dutch). From this, we have set out a number of tips shared by student organisations. Maybe your own organisation can benefit from these tips to make policies on alcohol and drugs even clearer for the board and, more importantly, for your members. Many of the tips can also help prevent excessive consumption of alcohol on the part of members.
- Add a water tap or make sure it is clearly visible during parties
- Make sure that bar staff are always completely sober
- Organise a ‘water quarter’ during parties. Water can be handed out or automatically given at the bar during these fifteen minutes
- Reduce or adjust the number of days when drinks meetings are held
- Use real glasses rather than plastic ones, as this prevents a ‘boozing and dumping the glass’ culture
- Be aware of the GDPR when it comes to drug testing: You cannot force members to take a test
- Provide information about alcohol and drugs by organising an activity or discussion
- Do not offer alcohol at knockdown prices – discounts should be offered for soft drinks
- Make sure that any members under the age of 18 are clearly identifiable (by wrist bands, for example, or by having a ‘face book’ behind the bar) and that they know that they may not consume alcohol, even at an activity organised by their society
- Make sure that people do not take drugs along on weekend trips or other outings by specifically mentioning the ban on this in the list of things they need to pack.
- Make sure that all members are clearly informed about your society’s alcohol and drugs policies, by publishing the information every year, for example
- As well as having clear policies, make sure there are clear sanctions for breaking rules relating to alcohol and drugs
If, as a board, you would like advice on setting up alcohol and drugs policies, or if any incidents have occurred within your society, then do not hesitate to contact us. We will be happy to advise you!
Trimbos: The Trimbos Institute is an independent knowledge institute on alcohol, tobacco, drugs, and mental health. Their website features extensive information on these topics, which affect students everywhere. They have created an info sheet (dutch) for student organisations in particular.