Society Showcase: High on Life, Alcohol-Free Society

This month, we’re talking to Leeds University Society, High on Life. It’s Dry January and we know a lot of students are participating. If you’re not familiar with the term, Dry January is where for the month of January, you refrain from drinking. However, sometimes students just don’t want to drink all the time. According to a National Union of Students (NUS) survey, nearly a quarter of students say there should be more non-drinking social events at university. High on Life Society is a society all about having fun as a society, without alcohol. Whether you’re sober, or just don’t fancy drinking, they’re a society open to everyone with the aim of showing students that there are ways to have fun without alcohol and if people are sober then there’s something for them to do.

Hype: Hi guys! Thanks so much for speaking to us. Could you start by introducing your society?

High on Life:  Hi, we’re High on Life! Our society runs social events for all. They take place usually at 7 or 8pm, so that they are more accessible for those who may not want a late night. Although our events are alcohol-free, you do not have to be sober to attend them. Our events are a safe space for people to come and be themselves without the pressure of drinking alcohol, and they’re much cheaper than going on a night out! We do a range of activities, including recently when we went bowling and were able to subsidise the cost for our members.

Hype: What was the inspiration for the society? How did your society form?

High on Life:  Whilst there are many societies at our university, they require some shared interest and, in our experience, many of them socialise by going on nights out to clubs, and when they do an alcohol-free event, they have very limited spaces. Our society was formed to allow a range of people with different interests to come together and socialise without having the pressure of drinking alcohol or having a late night when they have a busy day ahead of them. Our events are also usually free for members (with membership being only £5 for the whole academic year), with a very small fee for non-members, so they are very affordable.

Hype: The idea of a stereotypical student life often includes a lot of drinking, but sometimes that’s not for everyone. Many societies’ social events centre around going on nights out. What kinds of activities does High on Life get up to?

High on Life:  We run a variety of events, from games night, bingo and quizzes, to bowling, mini golf and mocktail making. In 2019, the society was also able to have a day trip to Alton Towers, which is something we would love to do again! We have also done events with volunteering societies to raise money for their charities. We are always accepting event ideas and do our best to accommodate them where we can, especially now we have a larger committee than ever before, so we are able to do much more!

Hype: During lockdown, it was a lot harder for societies to socialise. How did you overcome this and were there any positives of online socialising?

High on Life:  We did weekly events on Teams as everyone has access to it through the university. We also did some Netflix Party events on the weekend, allowing people to vote for the movie they wanted to watch. We found that although a lot of people were not interested in doing virtual events, so we saw less people attend than usual, there were some positives. We would all talk as a group, allowing everyone to get to know each other, and we were able to do events such as a cook along to make homemade pizza and a virtual escape room where we competed in teams to see who could do it the fastest. We also managed to do a collaboration event with the Sober Student Society from Manchester Metropolitan University which we would not have been able to do if it was in person, which allowed attendees to meet people from another university.

Hype: What can society members gain from being part of the society?

High on Life:  People can have a consistent social life as our events occur weekly, the events are also very relaxed, so we have seen new people attend our events and make friends really easily. As stated earlier, people don’t need to have a shared interest to attend our events, so by coming to our events, you can get to know so many different people that you might not have met otherwise. Our events are mostly free for members and with membership being cheap, then it makes for a very affordable social life. We find that people are able to make deeper connections as there is no alcohol at the events. Our events offer an escape from university work without the late night or hangover the next day, so in busy times you can still attend our events.

Hype: Finally, what are some of the High on Life Society’s future plans?

High on Life: Some things we want to do are a murder mystery night, plant pot painting, and a Pixel Bar meet-up to play on the games consoles. We have a lot of ideas and now that we have new committee members, we are able to do a lot more of the plans we have as we started the year with only three of us and now there are six on committee. We urge our members to send in requests as we’re always looking for new ideas and will accommodate them as much as possible.

You can find out more about High on Life here.

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