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About us

Student Action for Refugees is the national student movement building a society where refugees are welcomed and can thrive, as equal members of the community.

People arriving in the UK face many challenges in both claiming their right to asylum and building new lives. Challenges that result from a hostile policy environment, negative public attitudes, unhelpful media narrative and a lack of access to services. Our network of STAR student societies and activists is creating a more understanding, just and welcoming society – today and in the future by; campaigning for policy change; providing practical support and connecting communities through volunteering; improving access to university; sharing information about asylum and the lived experience of refugees to shift narratives.

Last year was our 25th anniversary, marking a quarter century of a vibrant student refugee welcome movement that has impacted on the lives of hundreds of thousands of people and has made a difference far beyond the walls of universities and colleges.

In 2019/20 we were active in 61 universities and colleges in England, Scotland and Wales – 53 STAR student groups, in 39 towns and cities, were supported and empowered to take local and national action to welcome refugees. The groups were run by 285 STAR student leaders with a membership of 4096 students. Together we:

• Campaigned for the right to work for asylum seekers, an end to immigration detention, improved refugee family reunion rights and improved access to university and more.
• Volunteered in partnership with 43 local charities recruiting 1,623 STAR student volunteers for 82 projects supporting 3,166 refugees – providing academic support for children, English conversation clubs, drop-in centres, IT workshops, gardening projects, sports clubs, fun community events and more.
• Organised 550 events attended by 22,000 people, providing a platform for experts by experience, academics, activists and organisations, to inform about asylum and the experiences of refugees.
• Supported 9 universities with scholarship development, 8 STAR student groups to campaign for Equal Access at their institutions and we provided information and advice to over 300 prospective students and university staff.