The drinking culture in England's universities is always something that is often criticised and becomes a cause for concern for students who do not drink alcohol. Realistically, Loughborough is no different to other universities in terms of the drinking culture and Freshers week can be seen as a lengthy binge for a few days. However, there are social alternatives during and after Freshers week for non-drinkers.
Although the drinking during Freshers week can be in excess, it is entirely down to students when it comes to deciding how much you want to drink. Chances are, if you take part in a drinking game you are going to drink a lot, (unless you're one of those people who knows the 'international drinking' rulebook inside out). Peer pressure can be something that makes people drink an excessive amount and realistically, people will get very drunk but this is something that can't really be avoided, especially with a lot of keen Freshers eager to quickly settle in. Whether it is wrong or not divides opinion but if you do not want to drink, it is not something that is going to make you feel left out. There are a lot of people at university who do not drink and the entertainment available for freshers throughout the year is not dependent on the consumption of alcohol.
Our student's union organises an 'Alternative Freshers Week' for people who prefer not to consume vast amounts of alcohol. This encourages people to attend events such as roller discos that are alcohol free so there is always something for non-drinking students to do. Also, every hall has a designated sober night where drinking is set aside for at least one evening. Students may also be worried about the amount of drinking that is going to take place. If you haven't drunk a lot before it is wise to be sensible about how much alcohol you do have during your first year. It wouldn't be wise to try and keep up with the drinking of the rugby team as that will almost definitely end badly. The union itself handles alcohol-related incidences very well and I can honestly say that there was no point last year where I felt that the binge drinking culture was something that the university could not control.
Overall, there is no point in trying to gloss over the fact that there is a relatively strong drinking culture in Loughborough. Despite this, there are alternatives for people who really are not keen on drinking and the consumption of alcohol is not the key to having a successful social life at the university. If you do drink, the only real advice is to remain sensible and realistically know your limits so that nothing too embarrassing, shameful or ridiculous happens over the next few weeks.