Estranged Students Solidarity Week

Estranged Students' Solidarity Week 



4th Estranged Students Solidarity Week: 23 - 27 November 2020

'How to be an ally to estranged students'

Information and resources to follow shortly!


Estranged students deserve to be heard and understood. The Estranged Students Solidarity Week is for Universities, Colleges, Student Unions / Associations to reach out to those who are studying without family support.

Your engagement will raise the level of awareness that not every student has parents to fall back on and not every student will be going home for Christmas.

Many may not feel comfortable approaching their institution so promoting support available to them during this week is key.

The campaign has three objectives:

1. To raise awareness about family estrangement, and the many barriers to success that estranged students face in Higher Education.

2. To reach out to those students at your university or college who are studying without support from parents/family and encourage/facilitate a wider discussion on family and changing family dynamics as part of your campaign and to reach out.

3. To encourage/work with your institution to carry out the objectives of the Stand Alone Pledge.

What does the campaign ask from SUs/SAs and universities / colleges?

• To run activities throughout the week for students and staff to participate in, focusing on family estrangement, its causes and how it can affect student life, as well as facilitating a wider discussion on family and family dynamics.

• Promote support available to those estranged from family.

• Christmas is a difficult period for those not in touch with their families and it is a good 'hook' to raise awareness of estrangement and what it means.

• Ask your university or college to sign up to the Stand Alone Pledge if they haven't already done so.

• Document your campaign and activities through blogposts, pictures, etc, and share via social media using #WithEstrangedStudents to raise the profile of students without family support throughout the week.

Interested? Want to get involved? Have a look at the information and Guides below, have a look at what has happened during previous ESSW weeks and get in touch with us either on Twitter @StandAloneHE or contact Susan by email on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The Stand Alone Team

More information about the Estranged Students Solidarity Week:



3rd Estranged Students Solidarity Week: 25 - 29 November 2019

Why should my Students' Union/Association run the Estranged Students Solidarity Campaign in 2019?
Read the blog by Amie Waterman, Founder and President of Durham Estranged Students

Read the 'open letter to those wishing to become allies to estranged students' by Sam Macrae, estranged student at Glasgow University, for Estranged Students Solidarity Week 2019

To find out what else went on during the week, check #WithEstrangedStudents on twitter.

2nd Estranged Students Solidarity Week: 26 - 30 November 2018

Keele SU and Uni wrote in their blog why it is important to join in the ESSC week.

Read the blog about how PAUSE reached out to the SU at Salford University.

GHWY poster campaign SOAS

SHU Hallam HelpDurham 2018

1st Estranged Students Solidarity Week  27 November - 1 December 2017

Over 25 Student Unions got involved. Many linked up with their university Student Services departments and jointly put on a variety of events to show solidarity to their estranged students on campus and raise awareness of the services available for them.

Unions participated in the digital awareness raising campaign during the week and students across the UK also shared their stories and experiences of university via the hashtag #WithEstrangedStudents on Twitter. 

A couple of universities also organised a meeting of estranged students with the Vice Chancellor or Pro Vice Chancellor, which is what happened at Keele:

loweth anne Anne Loweth, PVC, speaks to Stand Alone's Emily Nelson about meeting a group of estranged students:

Emily: Why is supporting estranged students so important and why are you willing to help as Pro VC?

Anne: I think, to me, it's about trying to give everybody an equal opportunity. Everyone comes to university with the same aims and expectations; doing the course they want to do and doing their best at it. Some students come with a disadvantage or one sort of another, through no fault of their own, so I care about making the playing field as level as possible for all manner of students. I think estranged students have a particularly challenging time because of the amount of extra responsibilities they have.

Emily: What has it been like meeting estranged students today, and what have you learned from it – if anything?

Anne: It has been eye-opening, because I'll admit that estranged students weren't a group I was personally involved with prior to my role as Vice-Chancellor and I welcome the chance to become aware of them. It's a priority to look after our students as much as possible and these students need more help than some. It's been a pleasure and a privilege to listen to their stories, and I've got some ideas to take away with me to help push some further improvements in line with our Pledge commitment here at Keele.

Emily: How will the experiences shared today help influence policy at Keele?

Anne: I think it's about realising how complicated some student's home situations are, and thinking about how to join up support so it's not just academic support or student services support working separately. It's about all areas, from accommodation to finance, working in tandem to support students as best we can.

Anne Loweth took up the role of Pro Vice-Chancellor (Students) in September 2017, taking on the strategic leadership of all aspects of student-related activities to promote and enhance the student experience, encompassing campus life, academic induction, transition and attainment as well as student support and wellbeing, continuing Keele's outstanding reputation for keeping students at the heart of its strategy.


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