Abstemious students seal fate of campus bar

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The Independent Online

Once it was the epicentre of university life, the de-rigueur hangout for students that offered large numbers of seats at which to put the world to rights, as well as subsidised beer. Now, the fate of that symbol of campus life, the student union bar, is under threat.

Once it was the epicentre of university life, the de-rigueur hangout for students that offered large numbers of seats at which to put the world to rights, as well as subsidised beer. Now, the fate of that symbol of campus life, the student union bar, is under threat.

One of the oldest universities in Britain announced plans yesterday to close its bar after 65 years, a victim of growing competition from trendy pubs and abstemious students. Since 1939 students at Aberdeen University have gathered at the Gallowgate in the city centre to spend their limited income on alcohol, and converse about the way of the world. But competition from nationwide chains of bars and clubs offering cheap alcohol and sophisticated surroundings has seen alcohol consumption in student bars fall by a quarter in the past four years.

The National Union of Students said that although Aberdeen was the first to take such a drastic step, many other universities across the Britain would have to face the same decision sooner or later.

The change has been blamed on the increasing number of students who live at home for financial reasons and who tend to socialise with their friends from school. A surge in mature students with families, along with the rise in the number who have to work part time to pay for their studies, has also led to a decline in the pub culture.

Jenny Duncan, the president of the university Students' Association, said: "It is truly the end of an era but there are just not enough students coming through the door."

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