This semester marked the beginning of activities for the Dublin Institute of Technology, STAR (Student Action for Refugees) Society. They made their first appearance at DIT Refresher’s Week, where they talked with students and recruited members.
STAR is based in the United Kingdom, and consists of a network of student groups at universities, who volunteer, campaign, and educate people about refugees and asylum seekers. There are currently two STAR-affiliated groups in Ireland: University College Cork and Dublin Institute of Technology.
DIT STAR held an Information Night on February 13th, to welcome all new members. Information about STAR and the situation of refugees in Ireland were discussed. New members were educated on the difference between asylum seekers and refugees, the direct provision system, the situation regarding right to work, and more about the sad reality of the refugee crisis.
The second event was held on March 7th, and was a Ben and Jerry’s Movie Night. The idea for this event came from STAR National Network. Ben and Jerry’s had teamed up with the International Rescue Committee to call on people to sign their petition, urging EU representatives to support a new piece of legislation called the “Resettlement of Refugees: EU Framework”. Members watched a series of short films titled “The Refugee Diaries: Thaer”, while enjoying free ice cream sponsored by Ben and Jerrys. After the film was finished, the group went on to discuss the difficulties asylum seekers encounter when they try to make a life for themselves in a new country. They also signed the online petition.
The Annual General Meeting was the last event of the semester, held on April 26th. New committee members were elected, and ideas for future events were discussed.
We are looking forward to what the society will achieve in the new academic year!