Sober students: Sober societies at universities in the UK

Sober students: Sober societies at universities in the UK

Now more than ever, students are breaking the mould of what uni life is perceived to entail. It really doesn’t need to be all about booze fests and beer pong, no matter how daunting freshers may seem without the drinking. Here are some examples of sober societies at universities around the UK and how they operate alcohol-free social events.

Mindful Running Society at Solent Southampton

Although not based around the topic of sobriety, Mindful Running at Solent Southampton plan to run (a happy pun) plenty of alcohol-free events, including coffee shop visits and movie nights. During the pandemic they have been holding weekly zoom meetings to check in with each other, creating a very supportive and safe community. They aim to run together on Tuesdays, followed by a discussion on mental health. Their founder Alice summarised their link to sobriety in saying “we want to encourage being able to speak openly without needing alcohol”.

High on Life Society at Leeds

The High on Life society at Leeds started in the academic year 2018/19. Pre-covid they visited trampoline parks, went bowling, made pizzas and organised a trip to ‘Scarefest’ at Alton Towers. Since, they have hosted a variety of events despite the limitations, such as virtual quizzes, games nights and even a murder mystery. They put on a wide range of activities to satisfy the social butterfly without the drinking aspect.

Sober Socials Society at Birmingham

Sober Socials of Birmingham go by the motto “an alternative to your typical student night out”. With just shy of one hundred members for 2020/21, they run regular evening activities online such as quizzes and games nights, but also fortnightly coffee mornings. Last year they played laser tag, bowling, mini-golf and hide and seek around their campus. In addition to this, they hosted taskmaster themed nights and more intriguingly “the pirate game” which is apparently very popular in the society. Who wouldn’t want to find out what that is!

UoY Sober Society or ‘Designated Drivers’ at York

The well named Designated Drivers at York put on lots of craft events, but they have also arranged tea shop crawls and been axe throwing. Their founder Amy said they are “completely open to anyone who drinks, [they] just want to try and balance the scales a little when it comes to events on campus as so many of them are drinking related”. Their events however are all alcohol-free to suit the people who drink a little to the many members that completely abstain. They regularly post about their weekly to bi-weekly activities.

The Sober Student Society at Manchester Metropolitan

Amy from The Sober Student Society at Manchester Metropolitan noticed after going sober that nothing at university “labelled not drinking as fun”. The society was started to change this as both a good motivation to stay sober, and to create events where not everyone was getting wasted. Throughout the pandemic they began ‘positive post’, where postcards were sent to members to cheer them up. They have also been running a quit lit book club with the books for members paid for, a weekly bake along to GBBO and quiz nights. Further activities have included a sketch club and a virtual collaboration event with the High on Life society at Leeds. Amy plans to arrange brunch meetings and food crawls, but also nights out to show they can still be fun without alcohol, giving members the confidence to ditch the booze.

Sober Socials Society at Queen Mary London

Sober Socials at Queen Mary London run a variety of online events for members. Using Zoom or Discord they have hosted Jackbox parties, Among Us games and even scavenger hunts. They have held Halloween-themed movie nights and in-person mini-golf tournaments too, with plenty more in-person activities to come.

Sober students are not alone in their sobriety

With such a range of events being held and new people to meet, freshers does not have to be about knocking back shots. There are so many sober societies around to both prove that you can have fun without the alcohol, and to show students that they are not alone in their sobriety.

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