Smart prevention works ! Empowering European students to adopt a responsible lifestyle.

Student life broadens horizons and brings new opportunities. This freedom impacts student lifestyle in many positive ways but it also entails new challenges for their health and wellbeing.

To better understand risky behaviours among students and raise awareness on the harms of excessive alcohol consumption, the European student organization Erasmus Student Network and Pernod Ricard launched in 2007 a unique pan-European programme called Responsible Party. Through this collaboration, which targets in average 50 000 students per year across Europe, binge drinking is challenged through peer-to-peer interventions and a balanced lifestyle is promoted.

The efficiency of Responsible Party programme was measured over the past 2 years through an independent scientific evaluation carried out by the Catholic University of Louvain. The report has demonstrated positive outcomes, showing that smart peer-to-peer prevention works and that information sharing is key to significantly decrease harm during student parties.

This kind of partnership offers new perspectives in the field of promotion of health and wellbeing for young people in the framework of a future European Union youth strategy. However, there are still many challenges that lie ahead.

EURACTIV organised a high-level debate to discuss the role of smart prevention and the future of the European students: Questions included:

– Should programmes such as Responsible Party be implemented in a more systematic way?
– How to effectively mobilise partnerships amongst key stakeholders?
– How should national and European Institutions be involved in this kind of programmes?
– How to make sure that Responsible Party initiatives can be extended to students that are not part of Erasmus programmes?
– What should be done in order for the EU Health Forum to play a more active role in this direction?

 

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