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Newsletter – 14/02/16

February 14, 2016 in Uncategorized by GU GRASS

Hi everyone, hope everyone’s handling the chilly weather! Apologies for the sporadic newsletters – we’ll be sending them out every two weeks from now on 🙂 Lots coming up in the next few weeks!


– ‘Blood in the Mobile’ film screening
– Information Stall
– Campaigns Day
– Tuition Fees Campaign

‘Blood in the Mobile’ – Wednesday 17th

Last year Glasgow Uni pledged to ‘ensure ethical supply chains’ in it’s electrical equipment purchases, thanks to the work of Glasgow’s ‘Coalition for a conflict free campus’. While this is really exciting, we think it’s still an issue that most people know relatively little about and most don’t consider when purchasing electrical goods. Therefore we’re re-screening the film ‘Blood in the mobile’ in which a Danish film-maker exposes the link between the war in DR Congo and our mobile phones . Come along to learn about the issue, and a bit about what you can do about it. Here’s the event page for details:

Tuition Fees Campaign

As we mentioned in our last newsletter, we think the University could and should be doing more to support asylum seeking students. A similar campaign is running at Edinburgh Uni, and they have already set up five full scholarships and reduced tuition fees from international to home fees for asylum seekers. ( We have now contacted Professor John Briggs, the Universities champion for refugees, to ask that Glasgow considers exempting asylum seekers from all tuition fees. In the meantime, we will be collecting further names for the petition at our stall at the end of February (see below).

Information Stall – End of February?

We’re planning to hold another information stall outside the Fraser building next week. We’ll be there all day with leaflets and chat, as well as some cakes and our petition asking the Uni to exempt asylum seekers from tuition fees! We’re still to confirm a date, but keep an eye on our facebook page for details!

Campaigns Day – 24th March

Plans for the student campaigns day are getting exciting, with speakers already confirmed from the Scottish Refugee Council, Right to Remain, Scottish Detainee Visitors, Council for At-Risk Academics, “Glasgow Girl” Amal Azzudin and Pinar Aksu and Nonviolent Communication and Convergent Facilitation! We’re in the process of contacting Universities all over Scotland to invite students and share the event, so if you are interested in coming – be sure to register for the event on the eventbrite page as there’s only enough space for 120 people:

Thanks for reading and see you all soon!

Newsletter: Happy New Year

January 19, 2016 in Uncategorized by GU GRASS

Despite the real lack of news coverage recently, it is important that we continue with all the hard work of 2015 and continue headstrong into 2016. Today, the French authorities began bulldozing parts of the Calais refugee camp, after forcibly evicting over 2,000 people, a heartless and cold approach to a worsening crisis. Many people will be especially concerned with how people all over Europe will face the harsh winter with minimal help from the European authorities, who continue to mistreat and demonize refugees.

– Refreshers Stall
– Journey to Safety
– University Tuition Fees Campaign
– Refugee Campaigns Day
– Other events this week

Refreshers Stall

We will be holding a stall at the Refresher’s Fair on Friday 22nd January in QUDOS at the QMU, so come along and say hi between 9-5 if you’re interested in joining our society!

Journey to Safety

We’re planning an event in the first week of February (date and time to be confirmed) to give an insight into the UK asylum system from the perspective of the people going through it. There will be a couple of short films, one explaining the war in Syria and the current refugee crisis in Europe, and the other following a family on their journey across Europe during the summer. Then we will have a general introduction to the asylum system by Martha from the Scottish Refugee Council, followed by a talk from a refugee speaker. Look out for the event page on Facebook.

University Tuition Fees Campaign

This semester we are hoping to re-launch a campaign for the university to offer free tuition fees to asylum seekers. Currently, the university provides this for one asylum seeker, per college, per year. This is not enough, considering the number that currently reside in the Glasgow and we believe that access to education for asylum seekers should not be restricted to those with money. The wait for a decision on an asylum claim can be extremely long, and without the right to work, extremely isolating. With an allowance of around £35 a week, it is impossible for the majority of asylum seekers to afford up to £40’000 a year of international fees. Edinburgh University is running a similar campaign, and the University has already agreed to exempt asylum seekers from international fees. We believe that Glasgow should be doing better and will be starting a petition at the refresher’s fair as a start to the campaign to provide equal access to education more asylum seekers at Glasgow. Come along to the Refreshers fair to hear more about it and sign the petition! We’re also looking in to setting up a small emergency fund for any asylum seekers who are already at the university.

Refugee Campaigns Day

We are currently helping Gramnet with the planning of a student convention here in Glasgow. The event will take place on the 24th March, and we’ll be inviting students from universities across Scotland to take part in a day of workshops, talks and stalls. The aim is to raise awareness and inspire more students to do what they can to help. Further details to come.

Other events this week

– Road of A Migrant: with Dr Olena Fedyuk – This film and discussion looks at the plight of Ukrainian migrants, and the social upheaval they have experienced in recent history. Held on Wednesday 20th January, 16.00 – 18.00 in Room 718, Adam Smith Building.
– Refuge: 59 Million And Counting – Organised by Philanthrobeats, this evening of talks is being organised to raise money for Govan and Craigton Integration Network, a non-profit network dedicated to providing support for refugees in Glasgow. This event is being held at Mono Café Bar from 7pm on Sunday 24th January.

Thanks for reading and see you all soon,

Newsletter: How to win an argument workshop

November 16, 2015 in Uncategorized by GU GRASS

As mentioned on our facebook page, we are were all extremely saddened by the attacks in Beirut and Paris at the end of last week, and our thoughts are with the victims and their families.
However, we were disturbed to already have had hateful posts on our page directed towards refugees coming to Glasgow. It is sad to see people already finding an easy target of blame in Muslims and migrants. People often forget that the largest numbers of people affected by ISIS are Muslims themselves, and many of the refugees leaving their home countries to come to Europe are doing so to get away from ISIS.
We would like to reiterate that we will not give any space to hateful, racist or islamophobic posts on our page, and urge everyone to challenge these views when you come across them.


– How to win an argument workshop (Wednesday 18th )
– Candlelit Vigil (Wednesday 18th)
– Jamnesty 2015 (Saturday 21st – Sunday 22nd)
– Last Meeting – EGM (Wednesday 25th)

How to win an argument – workshop

Fitting in well with the idea of challenging offensive views when you come across them, we are having a ‘how to win an argument’ workshop on Wednesday! Come along to discuss the kinds of arguments we come up against and share information and ideas on how best to argue back! This is a trial of this worskhop, so will be taking feedback with the hope of making it part of a bigger/better event next semester! Looking forward to seeing you all there! Here’s the FB event page:

Candlelit Vigil

Following the events that took place in Paris, Beirut, Baghdad and Calais, a candle light vigil will be held in memory of those who lost their lives in these tragedies, or have been affected by it. Members of GRASS will be going along after our meeting so come along and stand in solidarity with the people from these places.
(There will be a limited supply of candles, so people are encouraged to bring their own!)

Jamnesty 2015!

Our friends at Amnesty are hosting their annual Jamnesty weekend of music and spoken word! It looks like an awesome line up so be sure to make it along if you can! Event page and ticket information can be found here:

Last Meeting of Term: EGM

We feel that we could do with some extra help with organisation/keeping our social media up to date, so will be electing some additional board members! Come along to discuss what kind of positions you think would be useful and stand or vote for them. We will also have an open discussion about what kinds of things you would like GRASS to be doing next semester/things that we could improve on!

Thanks for reading and see you all soon,


Newsletter: Sleep Out Success!

November 8, 2015 in Uncategorized by GU GRASS


– Sleep Out
– Bake sale
– Gramnet film screening
– Unicef: Global Refugee Awareness Week

Sleep out (Friday 6th)



The sleep out on Friday was a big success, with over 30 people attending the gig and around 10 sleeping out. Luckily it wasn’t too cold or rainy so we slept fairly well! Thanks to everyone who came along and to everyone who has donated, so far we’ve raised nearly £600 for the Refugee Survival Trust! A special thanks to the Wellington Church for having us, and to all the amazing performers who came along! (this was the set list: If you weren’t able to come along but would still like to donate, here’s a link to the page:

Bake sale (Friday 13th)

Since we couldn’t do our bake sale/info stall this week, we will be having one on Friday to raise some extra money for RST.

Gramnet Film Screening (Wednesday 11th)

To mark International Day of Tolerance GRAMNet/BEMIS Film Series will be screening 2 films – Everyday Borders (2015) and Detention Without Walls (2015). ‘Please join us for an evening of films and discussion at the CCA, where we will take a closer look at the notion of borders in UK and Scotland from multiple perspectives, asking important questions about how this issue affects the daily lives of everyone in our communities’

We’re hoping to head over to this event, so if you’d like to join make sure you book your tickets:

Unicef: Global Refugee Awareness Week (9th – 13th)

Unicef on campus are hosting a week of events from Monday 9th – 13th of November . The events are designed to raise and engage student awareness concerning the ongoing global refugee crisis. Each evening will address a different theme, and will feature speakers, eye witness accounts, short documentary screenings, as well as Q&A and discussion.

Members of GRASS will be at Friday’s event to talk a bit about what we do as a society, and other ways that students can get involved in Glasgow.

Refugee’s are welcome here – anti SDL rally

Unfortunately, the Scottish Defence League have decided to organise a protest in Monkton on 15th November, outside a hotel which is currently being used as emergency accommodation for people seeking asylum. A simulataneous counter-demo will be taking place, so please join us there to send a message that the SDL and their racist beliefs are not welcome! We’ll probably be taking public transport so if you’d like to join us get in touch and we can arrange somewhere to meet before hand. Here is the event page:

Thanks again to everyone that came along on Friday and helped to make it such a great night! See you all soon,


Newsletter: Sleep out week!

November 1, 2015 in Uncategorized by GU GRASS

– Tuesday 3rd: Medsin workshops
– Tuesday 3rd: Amnesty Meeting
– Wednesday 4th: Destitution in Scotland with Morag Gillespie
– TBC: Bake sale/info stall
– Friday 6th: Sleep out night

Medsin Workshops

The final evening of the medsin workshops on the health needs of asylum seekers and refugees is this Tuesday and is an ‘action evening’ with Crossing borders. Last week was a really productive meeting with Dylan Fotoohi from Scottish Refugee Council. Our group discussed the possibility of getting the university to open up access to the gym, pool and sports facilities for refugees and asylum seekers, and we have emailed GUSA to bring up the idea.

Amnesty: Focus on refugee crisis

Another interesting event on Tuesday, so you might have to make a choice! Amnesty have invited Dr Benjamin Thomas White, who is a historian at Glasgow now teaching and researching on the history of refugees and statelessness in the world at large. Here’s the event page for anyone interested:

GRASS: Destitution in Scotland with Morag Gillespie

Interested in learning more about destitution before the sleep out? Morag Gillespie from Glasgow Caledonian will coming along on Wednesday to talk through her research on asylum and destitution and get some discussion going around the causes what would prevent it. It should be fairly relaxed and anyone is welcome to join:

Bake sale/info stall

As usual we’re hoping to hold a tray bake sale, with information about the sleep out and Refugee Survival Trust at some point during the week this week. Unfortunately Thursday and Friday weren’t available for a stall, so we are still waiting to confirm a day – we’ll will let you know asap though!

Sleep out night!

Friday is the big night – we hope you’re all excited! Come along to the Wellington Church from 8pm to hear live music and spoken word, bring a sleeping bag if you’d like to join us for the night! We’ll be taking donations ‘on the door’ for Refugee Survival Trust, but if you can’t come and would like to donate, here is our crowdfunding page:

Bring warm clothes and any spare sleeping bags would be handy!

Last minute planning:
– Performers: we’re still looking to confirm a few more performers, so message us if you or someone you know would be up for it!
– Card board boxes: we need as many people as possible to help to collect cardboard boxes on Friday – if you are free to help, fill out this doodle page?

Hope everyone is managing the stress of deadlines, and see you all soon!


Newsletter: Surround Dungavel and sleep out plans

October 23, 2015 in Uncategorized by GU GRASS

– Detention documentary and sign making
– Surround Dungavel!
– Medsin Talks
– Sleep Out

Detention Documentary and Sign Making
At our meeting on Wednesday we watched channel 4’s undercover documentary of Yarls Wood, followed by a wider discussion about detention afterwards. The second half of the meeting was spent painting signs for the demo at Dungavel on Sunday, which we’re hoping to attend as a group.

Surround Dungavel Demo
For anyone who would like to come along with us, we will be meeting at the George Square entrance to Queen Street Station at 11am on Sunday. (REMEMBER THE CLOCKS CHANGE SATURDAY NIGHT!)
If you haven’t already done so, make sure you book your place on the bus before hand here:
Looking forward to seeing you all there!

Medsin Course: Asylum Seeker and Refugee Health
Medsin have been running a 4 week course on the health needs of asylum seekers and refugees, and what we, as students, can do to help. Details of the last 2 events can be found here:
Since our plans for next week’s meeting fell through, we will join them on Tuesday instead, with
Dylan Fotoohi from the Scottish Refugee Council talking about the ways in which we might be able to help in Glasgow.

Sleep Out
We had our planning meeting for the sleep out last week, and are excited to have Unicef and Crossing Borders involved this year! Here are some of the things we discussed:

We discussed various options for which charity to support, all of which worked with destitute refugees and asylum seekers, and in the end voted for Refugee Survival Trust ( – a great volunteer led charity that provides grants to asylum claimants and refugees living in Scotland.

We’ve created a crowdfunder page, so please donate and share widely!

Bake sale/Stall:
On the day of the 6th we plan to have a bake sale on university avenue, to raise money and also to tell people about what we’re doing, and why, as well as invite them along to the gig in the evening.

Gig/open mic:
In the evening we plan to have some live music and poetry from around 8 till 11pm. We’re still in the process of arranging performers, so if you or anyone you know would be up for performing feel free to get in touch! We won’t have any amplification so poetry or acoustic performances would work best!

We plan to make posters to advertise the event around campus, and flyers for the stall as well. We haven’t started with the design of the poster yet so if you’re good at that stuff/have any inspiration get in touch!

That’s all for now, we look forward to seeing you soon!


Newsletter: SAFR talk and info stall/bake sale

October 11, 2015 in Uncategorized by GU GRASS


– SAFR talk (Wednesday 7th)
– Bake sale/info stall (Friday 9th)
– CEES discussion: Breaking through the great wall of Hungary(Tuesday 13th)
– Sleep out planning meeting (Wednesday 14th)
– Document Film Festival (16th-18th)
– Calais Demo (Saturday 17th)
– Surround Dungavel Demo (25th)


On Wednesday Claire Macauley, the cofounder of Scottish Action for Refugees, came in to talk about the group, what it has been doing so far, and the projects they have lined up. It was a really inspiring talk, and gave us a good chance to chat about the ways in which we can help out both in Glasgow and in Calais. As well as a shelter building trip to Calais, SAFR are in the process of setting up a project in Glasgow called ‘dine with dignity’ – the idea is to give out lunch expenses of £5 to destitute asylum seekers, rather than food, in the hope of giving them some autonomy and choice in what they eat. You can find details of this and other SAFR projects on their facebook page:

Bake Sale/Info Stall

On Friday we had the first of our information and fundraising stalls. It was a really successful event, especially thanks to everyone who helped out by baking/looking after the stall – we raised £112.80 in total, which has been donated to the ‘Glasgow campaign to welcome refugees’ Athens and Lesvos crowdfunder. We also handed out flyers and talked to lots of people about the ‘surround dungavel’ demo on the 25th (see details below) so we hope to see some Glasgow students there!
The malteaser slice was particularly popular so as requested here is the recipe 😀

CEES Discussion: Breaking through the great wall of Hungary

Glasgow Central and Eastern European Studies Society are hosting an event to discuss the Hungarian government’s response to mass immigration and what the future might hold. They have various speakers, including the former prime minister of Hungary, Ferenc Gyurcsány. For details go to the event page at:

Sleep Out Planning Meeting

As you may know, we have our annual ‘sleep out’ planned for the 6th of November, outside the Wellington Church. Unicef, Crossing Borders and GUSH are all hoping to get involved as well, so this Wednesday at 5pm we will have a meeting to vote on a charity, and discuss the planning of the event. Here is the event page:

Document Film Festival

This is an international Human Rights Documentary Film Festival, at the CCA next weekend. We will be attending the event co-presented by GRAMnet on Saturday, which is a selection of short films exploring notions of home, place and identity: There are loads of films on all weekend, so check out the schedule here:

Calais Demo

Various people from Glasgow SWSS are joining a delegation trip to Calais on the 17th. They will take part in a demonstration as well as provide support to charities on the ground. Places are limited, but if you are interested in joining them contact, buses leave Glasgow at 9pm on Friday and return at 7am on Sunday.

Surround Dungavel Demo

‘We Will Rise’ are organising the first Surround Dungavel – SHUT IT DOWN protest in solidarity with Surround Harmondsworth, Shut Down Yarlswood and the growing END DETENTION Movement across the UK. Detention is a completely unnecessary and inhumane way to treat people and we’d like to have as many GRASS members at this event as possible. Buses will leave George Square at 11am and return around 5pm, nearer the time I will get a idea of who is coming, and we can head to George square as a group. Make sure you book your bus tickets as soon as possible:

Thanks for reading, and catch you all soon!

Newsletter : Societies meeting and upcoming events

October 4, 2015 in Uncategorized by GU GRASS

Hello again,
Thank you to everyone who came to our meetings this week. We’ve had a busy start to the new term planning all the events for the coming months. This newsletter will cover:

– Volunteer Fair
– Societies Meeting
-Scottish Action for Refugees Talk
-Sleep Out
-Black History Month

Volunteer Fair

The volunteer fair was held on Wednesday and it was a very successful meeting. The organisations who attended were:
-Refugee survival trust
-Scottish detainee visitors
-Glasgow United FC
-Glasgow night shelter
-Govan and Criagton integration network
-Crossing Borders
Everyone spoke about the work their charities do to help refugees and asylum seekers. We then had time for discussion and individual questions. This meeting was to show people how they can volunteer around Glasgow while at university. It was pleasing to see so many people attending this meeting along with a good turnout of charities. Thank you to everyone who came.

Societies Meeting

Several societies including Coalition for Syrian refugees and the SWSS attended this group planning meeting. Lois was there representing the GRASS society. Upcoming events were discussed along with campaign and fundraising ideas.

-Campaign Plans – It is hoped that in the coming year each society can work together to form a campaign or petition for the university to offer scholarships to refugees. This campaign plan was discussed by all societies, but we will take advise from gramnet about what the best course of action is.

-Stall Plans – There are also plans to start a regular stall in the university campus to be run collectively by various societies. It would be placed outside the library and each society would take it in turns to run the stall. The stall would have have information about upcoming events, myth busters about refugees, donations for a charity still to be decided and possibly a petition.

Scottish Action for Refugees Talk

The next GRASS meeting is on Wednesday the 7th of October. It is in Commitee Room 4 at QMU. Claire from Scottish Action for Refugees is coming in to talk to us about her experiences in Calais, and the projects that SAFR are running. She will give us information about how we can volunteer ourselves.

Sleep Out

Every year GRASS has a sleep out fundraiser to raise money and awareness of the difficulty destitute asylum seekers face. Before going to sleep we have live music. There was a large turnout last year raising just over £250 and we hope for the same this year. We hope to have a planning meeting on the 14th of October with UNICEF and Crossing Borders to discuss the sleep out. This includes which charity to donate to and organising the gig. The planned date for this year is the 6th of November.

Black History Month

The university is celebrating it’s fist Black History Month and there’s loads of great events lined up:
GRASS is hoping to get involved by organising an event, but since we’ve had a pretty hectic few weeks, are still discussing options! If not, we will certainly be attending some of the other events!

We hope to see you again soon. 😀

Newsletter: Volunteering Fair and event updates

September 28, 2015 in Uncategorized by GU GRASS

Hi all,

Thank you to everyone who came to our first meeting of the academic year! We really appreciate your patience through our technological hiccups, and we hope the talk was a helpful introduction to the asylum system. You can find the presentation we used below, as well as details of our next meeting. Here are the topics of this week’s newsletter:

  • Last week’s presentation
  • Calais collection point
  • Volunteering fair (30/09)
  • Refugees are welcome here! (29/09)
  • Sleep out/call for performers

Last week’s meeting

Here is a link to the presentation we used last week if you missed the meeting or if you’d like to have a look at the videos we unfortunately couldn’t play for you at the meeting. TW regarding the Channel 4 video on Yarl’s Wood (embedded in the presentation but also here) – if you watch the entire video there is discussion of self harm, miscarriage and general beyond unpleasantness from the guards.

Calais collection point

Thank you to everyone who donated at the collection point at the QMU! Another collection point will be open in the next two weeks; we will send you a reminder closer to the date.

Volunteering fair

Our next meeting will be this year’s GRASS Volunteering fair. We have invited speakers from Scottish Detainee Visitors, Refugee Survival Trust, Crossing Borders, United Glasgow Football Club, the Night Shelter, Unity in the Community, Govan and Craighton Integration Network. They will tell you about the volunteering opportunities available at the organisations and they will stick around after their presentations if you would like to have a chat with them. We will be meeting in Committee Room 2 at the QMU at 5PM on Wednesday.

Refugees are welcome here!

‘Refugees are welcome here’ is an event featuring speakers involved in refugee and asylum seeker-related charities, which takes place this Tuesday (September 29th) at the Charles Wilson building. Here is an extract from the Facebook event page:

Please come along on Someday 29th to hear:

Eyewitness reports from Athens and Lesvos from ‘Glasgow Campaign to Welcome Refugees’ committee members Pinar Aksu, Amal Azzudin and Margaret Woods following their mid-September solidarity visit to Greece.

Also speaking Robina Qureshi (Positive Action in Housing); John Wilkes (Scottish Refugee Council); Professors Rebecca Kay & Alison Phipps (GRAMNet); & Keir McKechnie (Stop the War)

The event is free, but make sure to register here if you would like to attend.


Our annual sleep-out is being planned at the moment! We have been talking to the lovely folk at GU Unicef on Campus about running it as a collaborative event. The current provisional date is November 6th. There will be performances in the evening of the sleep-out, so please get in touch if you would like to join the gig! Also, let us know if you would like to be involved with the planning of the event as well.

International Human Rights Documentary Festival

Members of GRASS will be going to a screening of three shorts presented by the International Human Rights Documentary Festival and GRAMnet on October 17th. Here is an extract from the Facebook event page for the screening:

This selection of three shorts explores the notion of home, place and identity. From the land, buildings and skin in which we inhabit. These modern sketches bring us closer to understanding who we are.

If you are interested in coming to the screening, drop us a line and we could make arrangements to book tickets together.

Thank you for reading and we are looking forward to seeing you on Wednesday!


Newsletter: Freshers Week Success!

September 20, 2015 in Uncategorized by GU GRASS

Hi all – we’ve made it through a very busy but very successful fresher’s week and are really excited to see you all again in the first week of term!


– Freshers fair
– Freshers Activist Mixer
– GU Coalition for Syrian Refugee’s
– First Meeting
– Calais Donations

Freshers Fair

We were lucky enough to have a stall for both days of the freshers’ fair, and had a really busy 2 days, with around 120 people signing up to our newsletter! We met loads of lovely people and we’re really excited to see some of you at the first meeting! Thank you also to everyone who took part in the #refugeeswelcome photo campaign, all of the pictures can be found on the GU Coalition for Syrian Refugees’ facebook page (see below for more info on the GUCSR).

Activist Mixer

The activist mixer was held at DRAM on Thursday, and was also a really fun evening! There was a big turnout from all societies and a really great atmosphere!

GU Coalition for Syrian Refugee’s

As mentioned above, the photo campaign during freshers’ week was an idea brought about through the GUCSR. The idea of the coalition is for different societies to get together with the aim of raising awareness for the humanitarian crisis in Syria. Last year the coalition put on a week of events and raised around £400 for UNICEF, Oxfam and Amnesty International. If you’re interested in keeping up to date with the plans for this year, you should ‘like’ the GUCSR page:

First Meeting: Introduction to the Asylum System

Our first meeting will be on Wednesday 23rd at 5pm in QMU committee room 1. We thought it would be useful for people to get some background information on the asylum system in the UK for the first meeting – so we’ll be doing an informal talk, with short film clips and lots of time for questions and discussion. It should be a fairly relaxed first meeting, with a chance to get to know everyone! Here’s the event page on facebook:

Collections for Calais

Thanks to Calais Solidarity mission group, Glasgow Uni UNICEF on Campus, Amnesty International and Red Alert, a donation drop off point for Calais will be open in QMU committee room 1, on Thursday 24th, between 11am until 4:30pm. There is a full list of useful donations and more information on the event page:

Thanks for reading, and see you all on Wednesday!