One thing I have noticed about the Dutch, and it goes along with their laid-back stereotype, is that when a competition on campus says there is a prize it’s generally alcohol. I may have said this before, but it is so weird to see as in the UK it would be seen as “universities encouraging students to drink”, especially when the competition is not even to do with drinking (ie. in Lifespan Development where the prize is one whole bottle of wine for the student who guesses the correct artist of a painting).
The UK has a binge-drinking culture, and for many students this is also part of the reason they go to University. This means that in a student town every night (or in a non-student town every weekend) there are quite a few drunken bodies and pools of what had been drunk littering the street. Because of this our government heavily discourages any promotion of excessive, or binge, drinking. This means raising awareness of how many ‘alcohol units’ there are in different drinks, and how many you are recommended per day and week. Which means not one bottle of wine per student. This concept of units, I have discovered, is not known to the Dutch at all – if you are interested go here. But to be fair British people don’t know much about units either.
The presentation of alcohol to students is at most in contrast to Exeter, because here if you are on a Society’s/Committee’s Committee/Board then you have to sign a waiver saying you will not encourage other members of your society to drink – something that at Bartenders’ Week we were told – but not as much as you are reminded at Exeter. I don’t think Bartenders’ Weekend would work for those who are non-drinkers – and even more it would never be allowed at a UK university. Allowing students free beer for the whole weekend where a majority of it consists of drinking games? No way.
Perhaps the Dutch are just more trustworthy than us and don’t need to be turned away from drink. I do think there is less vomiting at UC and defiantly no concept of “Tactical Chunder” or TC (where, before you leave, you make yourself throw up so you can then drink more later – for the record it is not something everyone does).
I appear to have turned this into a debate on British Drinking culture which wasn’t the initial aim. I don’t know why the UK is so different as there are plenty of students here who get just as plastered as we do at home. I mean Bartenders’ Weekend was obviously messy. Yet their drinking age is also younger. Perhaps the UK should be more open with alcohol rather than leaning towards making it taboo?
In essence the “drink-to-get-drunk” mentality is less prevalent and due to this there is less restraint on allowing alcohol to be a prize. And I have no idea why that is.