A recent freedom of information request sent to Canterbury Christ Church has revealed that the student’s union bar ran at a £186,000 loss in the financial year of 2018/2019.
They made over £201,936 in that same period. However, the long list of outgoings was quick to put a dent in the money they had made. Catering costs in that same period totalled a whopping £111,470, leaving £90,470. Staffing costs, like wages, cost a further £152,975, leaving the student union in the red. And on top of that, other costs, like agency costs, license fees cost another £124,173 bringing them down to minus £186,000, where the University footed the bill.
Student union bars are synonymous with cheap booze and food – which all students love. However, over the recent years, students are demanding more opportunities to socialise with their friends without alcohol. The living index in 2018, states that on average, students spend £38.61 on alcohol each month with Canterbury spending the least.
These losses are not just occurring in Canterbury. Just last year, Portsmouth University closed its student union bar, The Waterhole, as alcohol sales plummeted over 20%. Now, it is a place where students can socialise, eat street food and drink coffee.
In a study completed with over 300 university students nationwide, over 20% of them stated that they do not drink alcohol or consume drugs at university. This trend is on the rise according to the National Union of Students, as more and more students are pressuring universities to cater for teetotallers, with facilities and events.
Fred Ling is a third-year student studying accounting at Portsmouth University. “Being a non-drinker at university has had more challenges than I first imagined. It’s ingrained in the culture of students to drink several times a week and while I do not condone this it has made my time at university more challenging to meet people as I often find myself not fitting in as most people I know drink regularly.” As my union has shut due to no longer being financially viable it would be nice to see the money saved being reinvested into an improved social structure for both drinkers and non-drinkers alike.”