Alcohol in the university setting: A new resource to support universities
NDRI’s Professor Steve Allsop and Dr Tina Lam, and NCETA’s Professor Ann Roche, are among a group of experts that have helped to develop a new McCusker Centre resource to support universities around alcohol policy.
Among Australian universities, approaches to alcohol policies vary widely. While many universities have a policy relevant to alcohol, few examples of clear and comprehensive alcohol policies have been identified, and existing policies are often limited in focus or disjointed with relevant provisions scattered among different policies. There has been little action thus far to ensure consensus or commonality regarding approaches to preventing harm from alcohol within the university setting.
Arising out of discussions with various university representatives and health researchers, the McCusker Centre for Action on Alcohol and Youth, based at Curtin University, convened a committee of university-affiliated experts from around Australia to support the production of a resource focused on addressing the place of alcohol in the university setting.
The resource, Alcohol in the University Setting: A resource to support Australian universities includes summaries of research on alcohol use by university students, the rationale for a comprehensive alcohol policy within universities, characteristics of effective workplace alcohol policies, and strategies and considerations for responding to alcohol in the university setting. There is also an example alcohol policy for a hypothetical university and extracts of useful policy provisions from Australian universities.
Universities have a number of important roles in the communities in which they operate, including as educational institutions, research centres and workplaces for staff and students. These roles provide substantial scope for universities to be active participants in preventing and reducing harm from alcohol. The McCusker Centre has distributed the resource to Vice Chancellors of all universities, and hopes to encourage universities to consider the resource, with a view to developing a comprehensive alcohol policy or strengthening an existing alcohol policy.