‘We want to give students as much help as we can’: Lincoln SU officers on Lincoln Night In
‘For us, even if one person had turned up tonight, it would have been a success’
Across the UK, there has been a significant rise in reports of people being spiked in nightclubs. It was reported by the Tab that 2,600 young people believe they have been spiked this term alone. In response, young people have come up with different ways to protect themselves. From cup covers to sharing information on what a spiked drink can look like, to refusing drinks from strangers.
In recent weeks there have been reports of people being spiked via injection in nightclubs, a student from Nottingham told the Nottingham Tab she did not remember anything past entering the venue and getting a drink at the bar.
Since then, the movement Girls Night In (later changed to [name of city] Night In to show that all people are affected by this issue) began to sweep across the UK. Lincoln was no different, with the page @Lincolnnightin spreading awareness. Later, Zuzanna Romanska, the University of Lincoln’s Students’ Union’s Women’s Officer organised an event last Wednesday.
The night began at 9 pm, with people turning up throughout the night in support of the movement. We were instantly greeted by friendly faces and were offered hot drinks and a seat. Despite misconceptions about the night being a ‘girls night in’, there was a range of people attending. From smaller groups who just wanted to sit with a coffee, to larger groups of people who welcomed in anyone, the evening overall was one that felt inclusive.
Zuzanna and the rest of the SU team worked fast to create a safe space for people to go to on the night of the boycotts, and the response was amazing. Talking with Faith Jones, a Sexual Health and Wellbeing Officer for the Student Union, she said: “the space we’ve made today is something we wanted to do, to show students that we are here to support them through their experiences”.
‘Despite the negativity surrounding the situation, we wanted to create something positive for the student community’
Zuzanna was pleased with the night’s turn-out, with people enjoying the tea, coffee and homemade brownies on offer. When asked about the Girls Night In movement, Zuzanna said: “For us, even if one person had turned up tonight, it would have been a success. Despite the negativity surrounding the situation, we wanted to create something positive for the student community”.
‘We want to give students as much help as we can’
A table, filled with leaflets, was a surprise to see. “We know it can be hard to get the message out there,” Zuzanna and Faith agreed, “so we thought to bring as much information as we could tonight so that people can find the right support for them”.
Small packets, of what appeared to be scrunchies, also sat on the table. Natasha Kirchin, the Student Union VP for Campaigns and Environment, explained that these scrunchies adapt to become cup covers to help prevent spiking. “We want to give students as much help as we can,” she said, “we know things like these are expensive, so we want to make sure everyone has access to them should they want one”.
As to whether the event at the Gateway will be an ongoing event, Nat, Zuzanna and Faith were all keen on the idea of it becoming a recurring event: “perhaps on a monthly basis,” Zuzanna said, “we have a lot of ideas on things we want to do to help students feel safe. I think keeping this sort of thing going would be nice”.
Overall, the night was a success, for both the Student Union officers who organised it, but also for all who attended. They hope similar events such as this may happen in the future, where students can find help, or just relax in a safe space with friendly faces.