Students sleep outside on campus for charity

They were mistaken for actual refugees

Despite freezing temperatures, on Friday night Southampton students met at 6 pm by the SUSU building and stayed outside for 12 hours to raise awareness of the situation in Calais.

They were quipped with paper cartons and sleeping bags, no tents or other proper shelter. Many layers of clothing, food in stock and the determination to a good cause helped them through the night.

The students were from SUSU Amnesty international in collaboration with Erasmus (ESN), Medsin Global Health, Hope Not Hate Society, Students for Palestine, Winchester PeaceJam, Winchester Rotract and Amnesty International. The aim of the event was to draw attention to the situation of the many thousand refugees stuck in a camp often called “The Jungle“ in Calais, France, and their horrid conditions of living.

Most of them didn’t sleep much, instead collecting donations and talking to the students passing.


Photo taken at Southampton Uni, not Calais.

Photo taken at Southampton Uni, not Calais.

Annabel Beilby, a forth year Modern Languages student, said: “It was really cold but luckily we had each other to keep morale up, and amusing drunk students passing by, and lots of snacks, and the thought that it would all end at 6am… which is more than can be said for the actual refugees and other people in the world who have to sleep on the streets.“

The group of students were very obvious on the square and the reactions of fellow students, coming from Stag’s or SUSU building were mixed.  Gav Fielding , a Modern Languages student in his last year said: “Some thought we were actual refugees, but I think they were joking and/or drunk.”

“Some told us to wake up or were more in disbelief and thought we were mad because it was so cold, others didn’t really want to donate. But the majority of students were very supportive and were grateful we were raising money and awareness.

Another told us: “The closest most students get to an experience like this doesn’t exceed camping with their parents. It’s very easy not to think about Calais and other refugee camps across Europe when you don’t have to worry about having a place to sleep and something to eat. This issue is not given enough public attention in the UK, and raising awareness is a step into the right direction that everyone can take!”

Showing solidarity #refugeeswelcome

Showing solidarity #refugeeswelcome

Donations to SUSU Amnesty for this project are still possible and every little helps! Have a look at their JustGiving page.

On December 9, there will be a collection of much needed items for the refugees. The event can be found here at the Facebook event. A list of what is needed will be published nearer the date, so look through your closet and donate your unwanted stuff!

Find out more about SUSU Amnesty on the SUSU website.

You can also find out more about SocialErasmus on their webpage.

ESN members at the sleepout (photo take from ESN facebook page)

ESN members wearing half their wardrobe at the sleepout (photo take from ESN facebook page)