Start a STAR group

Do you want to do your bit and give refugees a warm welcome to the UK? If you don’t already have a STAR group at your university you can start a new one – it’s really easy to become part of our network of 35,000 student members. To help you start a STAR group we’ve put together 10 easy steps that you’ll need to think about:

1. Contact STAR National.

If you haven’t already, then get in touch with STAR National to talk about what you’d like to do and find out more about what STAR groups do. Before you do so it is worth double-checking if there is a similar society on campus and how that might affect your group.

2. Speak to your Students’ Union.

Contact the person responsible for societies (e.g. Societies Officer) and find out what you need to do to set up a society and what support the Union can provide for your new group.

3. Form your society committee.

You need to appoint people to the positions required by your Students’ Union and any other roles necessary to take responsibility for other tasks you may have. This will sometimes be a formal election with a Union representative present, particularly if you have a large number of people to begin with. However, it may be more appropriate to have an informal meeting where positions are agreed by consensus, especially if this is temporary and you intend to hold open elections later in the year.


4. Register your society.

You will usually need to collect some signatures (e.g. 15-30) and have the core of your new committee (e.g. as Chair, Treasurer, Secretary). You may need to wait a few weeks before the Union confirm your registration.

5. Affiliate to the STAR National network.

This is free, easy and essential! Star National can provide you with lots of support so simply download our STAR_Affiliation_Agreement, check, sign and return. You are now an official STAR group and can receive:

  • free materials to promote your group and refugees, e.g. banners, books, leaflets
  • free training on running STAR activities including Committee Training
  • assistance, direction and advice on volunteering and campaigning from the experienced national team
  • the opportunity to join with other students to campaign nationally for refugees
  • a say in the direction of STAR including a vote at the Annual General Meeting (AGM)
  • promotion for your group on the STAR website
  • discounts for the National Conference in November and on STAR merchandise

You can join the STAR network at any point during the year. We recommend that new groups and new committee members attend the STAR Committee Training in June or are visited by a member of the STAR National team.

6. Hold your first meeting.

Get together those who are interested to plan your first steps, including getting more members and organising your first events or activities.

7. Promote your group!

The first thing you’ll need is members, and plenty of them. You need to make sure that as many people on campus as possible know that there is a STAR group at their university. To start you can try…

  • Freshers Fair. This is the best opportunity to recruit members, but at other times of the year there may be a ‘Re-Freshers Fair’.
  • Linking up with similar societies to share what you’re doing and talk about ways to work together.
  • Starting a Facebook group. An easy way to build support among friends and advertise.
  • Attending university events. Check the Union Diary for events such as “One World Festivals” and “International Weeks” which you could book stalls at and/or organise events for.
  • Contacting relevant departments. See if you can advertise on departmental notice boards or contact lecturers and departments who you think may have a natural fit with STAR’s aims and interests.

8. Get your STAR resource pack.

Ask STAR National for a box of lovely materials, including a STAR banner, leaflets, stickers, beer mats, balloons, refugee leaflets, campaign info, etc.

Kick start your group by holding an introductory evening open to all students. A number of different events will work, e.g. a short talk, a film and quiz, or a music night. But whatever you do try to keep it simple and make sure that people leave with some basic info about STAR and refugees and a clear idea of how to get more involved (this could be part of a presentation, or through brief announcements, or leaflets handed at the door, etc).

10. Find local volunteering opportunities.

STAR National can help you find local refugee projects and organisations to volunteer for, so get in touch to discuss what you’re interested in doing.  

Helpful Resources


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