THE STEREOTYPICAL image of students having a good time by partying until the early hours in bars and clubs, is out of date according to new research.
Instead it suggests young people are more likely to get their kicks out of joining societies and raising money for good causes.
The findings are from a research project called ‘Express Yourself’ - commissioned by Leeds University Union.
It shows that students who participate in clubs or societies rate their social lives more highly than those who do not.
The research also showed that less than half of students questioned, 42 per cent, placed importance on going out to clubs and bars over other activities.
This is borne out by figures showing that sales of alcohol in the Union’s own venues have fallen– the decline in ‘wet’ drink sales over the last two and a half years is down by 37.5 per cent in the Union’s night clubs and 12.5 per cent in its other bars, while sales of food being shared by friends in the bar environment has dramatically risen
In contrast, within a three year period membership of the Union’s clubs and societies has doubled from 11,583 in 2011 to 21,946 students in 2014.
There are now more than 300 clubs and societies on offer at Leeds University Union compared to a handful when it was launched back in 1939.
They span a range of hobbies and interests such as skydiving, pantomime and knitting as well as some more quirky recent additions such as the Quidditch and Harry Potter Society which practices broomstick flying every Wednesday and Saturday.
Every year scores of local community organisations, national and international charities reap the benefits of Leeds students’ passion for fundraising and volunteering. Since 2012, Leeds RAG – the Union’s Raise & Give Society which organises fundraising activities - has raised almost £600k for local, national and international causes. This year the Union has carried out 75 charity challenges to mark its 75th anniversary – helping over 120 charities over the last 12 months.
Bradley Escorcio, Union affairs officer, said: “Students too often receive a bad press, but as our own evidence shows many embrace the social and cultural side of University life and give back to local communities.
At Leeds we’re seeing unprecedented numbers of students taking part in our diverse societies and clubs – they are a great way to make new friends and develop new skills. And as our survey shows, students who are involved with activities outside their studies are much more likely to be happy and positive about life at university. As we countdown to Freshers’ Week we expect to see thousands of new undergraduates checking us out online eager to find out what we can offer them here at the Union, and we look forward to welcoming many of them at our fairs next week.”