The Next Round: What happens after you change your drinking?

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Sober student societies

Get involved with sober student societies with Club Soda & #BeRebelAF

A big part of University life is about getting drunk and skipping a load of lectures, right? Well, we don’t think so. And neither do sober student societies across the UK who, alongside our student-focused initiative, #BeRebelAF, support and empower students who want to take control of their alcohol intake. Who said sober was boring? With #BeRebelAF, you can take advantage of all the fun of Freshers Week and beyond, just without the hangover.

If you’re heading off to Uni with no intention of drinking then you’re not alone. With one in four students choosing not to drink at all, sober societies allow students to make new sober friends right from the very first week of Uni. In this podcast, we speak to three student societies from the University of York, the University of Lancaster, and the Queen Mary University of London, and learn how they cater for sober and sober curious students.

Welcoming our three Sober Student Societies

With plenty of experience in student activities, in-house Club Soda student Lauren takes the lead on this podcast. Lauren speaks to the founders of three sober student societies from across the UK. Amy, founder and chair of York Sober Society, Ophelia, the president of Lancaster Uni’s sober society, and Leilani, the new president of the sober society at QMUL all discuss how they’ve created alcohol-free zones for those who choose not to drink to fit right in.

York Sober Society

We do Basically anything that you would do at a drinking event but without alcohol. We’ve done bar crawls with no alcohol involved, we’ve done tea shop crawls, we’ve done bookshop crawls – they’re popular as well. We’re doing a lot of interesting alternative stuff in freshers week.

President of the York Sober Society is Amy, whose experience with running a student society for those wishing to avoid alcohol is that there are many more students than you think seeking advice. In the first weeks, Amy describes many students who feel intimidated by the amount of drinking coming to their society to ask about events and to get advice. Amy is keen to let students at York, as well as the rest of the country, know that drinking isn’t bad. If you’re just looking for a chance to do something different, meet new people, and have a break from the pressure of drinking activities, you’re still welcome to take a night off with the York Sober Society.

Lancaster University Sober Society

The drinking culture at University is not great. And it is very alienating, it took a while to find other people when I went sober. I had to really go in and find people and lead a student society to bring them together. There’s a huge amount of students that don’t drink, that really just need a place to feel good and feel safe.

This sober society was only set up in 2020. President Ophelia feels that she came at her presidency in a different way to other groups as she was already sober when she started University, and so was looking for a space where sober people could meet up and feel safe. She was heavily involved with the drinking aspect of University despite not participating in alcohol, and the experience was very alienating for her. Lancaster’s Sober Society is a place for people who are sober and people who are sober curious – the aim is to be inclusive whilst being aware that alcohol is triggering for some people, so they ask that you don’t drink at their events.

Queen Mary University of London Sober Society

A lot of societies that I’m part of other than the sober socials do centre quite a bit around going to the pub after you do a society event or having alcohol while doing that. So it can be a little bit offputting, I think. But it’s really wonderful to know that there are spaces where you can go where none of that is ever going to be expected of you.

The QMUL Sober Society began right in the middle of the pandemic. Society president Leilani has successfully run online events throughout her first year of University but is looking forward to getting stuck into some face-to-face events, including a Welcome Picnic for members to get to know each other in real life. Rather than be daunted by the idea of setting up a new society, though, Leilani sees it as an opportunity to get to know what people would want from their sober space and to build events and a community around what makes people feel included. So, if you’re sober or sober curious, and going to Queen Marys, Leilani would love to hear from you!

Why join a Sober Society?

Here are a few key takeaways from our discussions with Sober Society presidents Amy, Leilani, and Ophelia…perhaps they’ll inspire you to go and check out the Sober Society at your own University?

  • Make new friends – that’s what student societies are all about!
  • Meet people with the same mindset as you about Uni drinking culture.
  • Feel safe and not triggered by alcohol.
  • Have likeminded people to talk to if drinking at Uni is becoming a problem for you.
  • Give others support if they’re struggling.
  • Learn how your society can signpost people who might need medical help.
  • Take a break from drinking and cut down whilst also having fun.
  • Get more involved with things that matter to you, such as fundraising.
  • Be part of group chats and learn about the different angles that people approach the society.
  • Let your new friends or roommates know that they have options if they don’t want to drink.


Be Rebel AF is a Club Soda course that’s designed just for students like you.

Be Rebel AF is the best of everything Club Soda knows about how to radically rethink your relationship with alcohol. The course is packed with information, tools and support, and it offers an in-depth approach to change with regular check-ins, encouraging you to experiment and discover what works for you.

To learn more about this course and how you can get a whopping 90% discount, visit our Be Rebel AF page and sign up today!

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