Antwerp to use memes to change perceptions of binge drinking students

Antwerp to use memes to change perceptions of binge drinking students
Credit: James Arthur Giekere / Belga

The City of Antwerp and the University of Antwerp will use videos and memes to correct the erroneous image of students spending their spare hours hanging out at the bar, binge drinking and coming to class hungover.

The campaign to change perceptions about alcohol and academic life will use information collected in a survey of Flemish students, in which, 1,886 students from the UA participated.

"Many people think that students are constantly drunk and drink a lot. But our surveys show that students think their fellow students drink much more than is actually the case. We want to rectify that with this campaign," Professor Guido Van Hal of the UA told VRT News.

Some figures at a glance:

  • 79% of Antwerp students drink alcohol no more than once a week
  • 81% of Antwerp students almost never drink alcohol alone
  • 3% of students indicate that they are drunk no more than once a month
  • 73% of Antwerp students never or rarely have trouble ordering something non-alcoholic at student activities

Van Hal emphasises the danger that such misconceptions can have. "People mirror each other.,” he said. “Research shows that people consider their own alcohol consumption acceptable because others supposedly drink a lot more.

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But in fact, the others don't always drink much anymore. The memes and videos will give students and others a realistic picture of what students really drink and how often they drink."

The memes and videos are given three months to do their job. After those months, the students will be questioned again. "We first want to see if the campaign has reached them. In the second instance, it is of course also important whether there has been an impact on their own alcohol consumption. Because that is the ultimate goal, to reduce excessive drinking," concluded Van Hal.


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