Poppy Humphrey: the secrets of off-campus living

Poppy Humphrey was appointed off-campus student affairs officer at Manchester Student Homes, a jointly funded department of the University of Manchester and Manchester Metropolitan University in 2013. She is currently the only internationally-recognised off-campus practitioner in the UK.

At our 2018 biannual Conference held in Belfast, student communications specialists Campuslife proposed an initiative where a member of their team went back to live with a group of students in halls to find out what students really wanted from their accommodation providers. In this instance, it just made perfect sense for our off campus student affairs officer to submerse herself in living with students in an off campus environment!

And thus born was ‘The Secret Life of Students’ a series of short YouTube films designed to educate students about what to expect about life off campus.


To read the full article featured on University Business, click here.

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: https://www.itga.org/ 


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.

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

What is Studentification?

The term studentification was coined and defined by Professor Darren Smith as ‘contradictory social, cultural, economic and physical changes resulting from an influx of students within privately- rented accommodation in particular neighbourhoods’. Since then, it has been used in both the media and academic papers across the UK.

Adopting the term studentification has provided a valuable framework for policy makers, universities and other stakeholders across the globe to find more effective ways of integrating students into the physical and social fabric of university towns and cities.

Professor Smith is fascinated by the formation of new social and economic geographies that are giving rise to more exclusive, segregated, and transient societies. The term studentification conceptualises the processes of change within university towns and cities tied to the growth of student populations and the expansion of higher education. To date, Professor Smith has researched studentification in UK, Ireland, North America, Australia and China.

The Studentification Guide for North America has been a pivotal publication in addressing the key issues surrounding the impact of students living in University towns and cities.