The Secret Life of Students

Poppy with CampusLife crew

 Many of us who work in Higher Education have interactions with students on a day-to-day basis. But how much do we really know about the complete student experience, especially living in an off-campus community?

Being able to fully understand these experiences is vital when it comes to offering Universities' off-campus services, making sure that these services are fulfilling the needs of our students. It is imperative that the institutions with a high proportion of students living off-campus can continue to promote community cohesion with the diverse communities in which our students reside.

'The Secret Life of Students' is a series of short YouTube films designed to educate students about what to expect about life off-campus. The series focuses on specific policy areas which includes student safety, housing, noise and anti-social behaviour, waste and recycling and community engagement.

The series will form part of our 'Halls 2 Home' campaign, which is delivered by Manchester Student Homes, which provides support to students before, during, and after the transition from halls of residence into their own home.

And so; with the help of CampusLife, our very own UKTGA North West representative, Poppy Humphrey, packed her bags and embarked on a week long trip down memory lane, and went back to settle in with her new student housemates!

Take a look at the trailer below!

Who are ITGA?

The International Town & Gown Association (ITGA) are a group of academic professionals that work day-to-day with issues related to Universities and their host communities across the United States Of America.

We, together with ITGA, encourage people to plan strategically and discover ways to prevent conflict and enhance the quality of life for those affected by University towns and cities.

UKTGA and ITGA are organisations that are here to assist communities in how they improve their quality of life, have positive interactions between the Institutions and the local community, and importantly, between long-term residents and students. Leaders learn how to reshape the environment to have a healthy place to live, work and play in the places they call home.

Check out this video below, explaining the role of ITGA and introducing you to a few members of the team, including a feature cameo from our Chair- Cooper Healey!

If you want to learn more about ITGA, then visit their website:

Reclaim the Night - Unite, join the fight, and reclaim the night!

On Monday 25 November 2019 over fifty students, staff and community members from St Andrews took part in the Students’ Association’s Reclaim the Night event. Reclaim the Night is a global movement to end sexual violence and gender-based violence.

Over the past forty years, thousands have marched to protest this violence, to support survivors, and to fight for everyone's right to safety.

This year's march was the 5th annual event held in St Andrews. Hosted by the gender equality societies of St Andrews, the event was open to all and was part of this year’s Community Relations Week activities. The night started with poster making at the Student Union followed by a march through the town. The crowds were joined by Professor Sally Mapstone, Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of St Andrews who spoke about her own experiences of Reclaim the Night marches from her university days.

In addition, a safe space was available for the duration of the event. The event was organised by the Feminist Society, SRC Member for Gender Equality, For Her, Got Consent, Her Choice, HeForShe St Andrews, Saints LGBT+, and Sexpression. The event was supported by Community Relations and the University.

St Andrews Town Gown View

St Andrews is a unique and captivating place, and the University is a key part of its charm. Seven centuries of history link the students with the town, leading to the ancient and yet modern institution apparent today. Founded in the early 15th century, St Andrews is Scotland’s first university and the third oldest in the English speaking world. Since its conception, the town and the institution have been inextricably woven together. Many current community members are alumni and the University is the biggest employer in the area.

The University holds a unique place within the ‘community’ of St Andrews. The University’s campus effectively stretches across the town, with many historic buildings across the town acting as offices and lecture theatres as well as student halls of residence.

On staff, a dedicated Community Engagement and Social Responsibility Officer works with colleagues to turn our social responsibility aims into reality. As well as a dedicated CESR Officer, University staff within academic, cultural and environmental designations all work with the community on various initiatives and we have an excellent Students’ Association, who work with students to ensure their time at St Andrews is both enjoyable and inspiring, whilst also being respectful and considerate to their environment and community.

Follow The Winds of Change: Action on Climate Change

On Friday 20 September 2019, students and staff of the University of St Andrews and the wider community drew a line in the sand for climate change.

Recognising that enough is enough on Friday 29 November 2019 students, school children and citizens from Fife gathered in St Andrews at St Salvator’s Quad and then proceeded down together to West Sands beach for speeches from the political candidates and the planting of six windmills in the sand to highlight the importance of renewable energy resources.


The event called for participants to plant the seeds for a better future and follow the winds of change. What does climate action mean in St Andrews? These global climate strikes have changed the narrative of climate politics. Activism works. Solutions are needed and action is needed, and our participants stood together to call for renewable energy solutions that consider citizen voices and community concerns.




St Andrews' Christmas Coffee and Cake

The wardennial team of one of the University of St Andrews halls of residence opened their doors to their neighbours for festive coffee and cake on Sunday 8 December 2020.

The first event of its kind in recent years, the session at University Hall saw some fifteen local residents meet over thirty residential students and their hall’s Warden and Assistant Warden.

An afternoon of warm drinks, delicious cakes, and free-flowing conversation proved a big hit and the team are already planning more sessions to bring residents and their student neighbours together.

Other halls across the University are looking to run similar sessions in 2020, with planning underway for Burns Night celebrations as well as Cheese and Wine evenings.

The Big Hoolie!

Big Hoolie stall

Celebrations took place throughout St Andrews on the weekend of the 30 November 2019 as the town marked the day of its namesake.


The ‘Big Hoolie’, organised by BID St Andrews in association with the Student Association began with a market at Madras College, with stalls, music and more. Several University Societies hosted activity tables, including Christmas card decoration and Christmas biscuit decoration.


In the evening, thousands of people put on their dancing shoes to take part in the huge outdoor ceilidh. Following that, a torch-lit procession led a crowd down to West Sands, where fireworks lit up the famous beach.

Community Relations Week at St. Andrews

St Andrews students at the charity Christmas dinner

St Andrews Community Relations Week is organised by the Community Relations Subcommittee at the University of St Andrews Students' Association.

2019 is the second year that this week of events has been organised for everyone in St Andrews. Lots of different societies got involved; there was a Sex Education for all workshop ran by Sexpression, an evening of art with Art Soc, a Charity Christmas dinner organised by a group of 6 societies, a wine and cheese night with the local community councillors, an alumni coffee morning with a local charity, and then the week culminated with the Big Hoolie for St Andrews Day. The week is about bringing the community together and showing how we can work together in the future to make our town great!

Handy Helpers at Queen's Student Union

Handy Helpers is a unique volunteering initiative which responds to the current needs of the local community through a diverse range of one-off volunteering activities, such as community gardening, litter-picks, supporting local residents’ community projects and assisting local charities with one-off projects. The initiative is a great way for students, who do not have the time to make a regular commitment to volunteering, to develop skills, establish new friendships, increase confidence and improve their well-being whilst actively supporting their local community.

The programme aims to encourage civic participation, improve social cohesion and enable students and communities to create positive change within the local area and beyond. Handy Helpers efforts create a nicer place to live by improving the immediate environment of those living, studying and working in Belfast. The activities facilitate positive interactions between students, long-term residents and community organisations, helping to create a more cohesive local community and a culture of mutual respect and understanding. The initiative energises local student and non-student residents to take ownership and pride in the area and fosters a true sense of belonging.

For more information please click on the links below:

The Handy Helpers Impact Report is now available on this link -

The Handy Helpers general student page is

A global approach to town-gown relations

Modern day tensions between communities and students are not new, but a collaborative initiative that bestrides international borders thinks it can drive fresh progress.

The origins of town-gown relations date back to the middle ages. Perhaps most notably, the Battle of St Scholastica Day on 10 February 1355 at the University of Oxford saw a two-day riot break out as the result of disagreement  between the townsfolk and gownsfolk at a local tavern.

Despite being steeped in history, the concept of ‘town and gown’ is less understood by the wider higher education sector than you might imagine. For reference, then, the ‘town’ is the non-academic population of a locality, and ‘gown’ is the university community.

UKTGA Chair Cooper Healey & Poppy Humphrey getting involved in Community Volunteering

As universities continue to expand, so do the off-campus communities where students reside. There are numerous positives, such as the opportunity for growth of talent and the capability to enhance the local community. Campus community collaborations also provide support for lifelong learning from the ‘classroom of the world’ which sits outside academia.

In reality, despite these opportunities, the meeting of such distinct communities often creates a number of challenges. This requires sensitively handled efforts and dedicated resources to work towards a cohesive environment, in order to offer support to all who live there.

For the full article, click on the link below:

A global approach to town-gown relations