SU Campaign

The first Stand Alone 'Estranged Student Solidarity Campaign Week' took place from 27th November to 1st December. This was a campaign initiative run by Stand Alone in partnership with the National Union of Students.

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.

Here are just a couple of examples of what else went on during the week:

Keele staff awarenessPortsmouth ESSC


Cumbria Uni Oxford SU












Thanks to everyone who got involved in this year's ESSC week and to NUS for working with us on this campaign. 

We look forward to running the ESSC again next year. 

More information about the ESSC:

Stand Alone linked up with NUS to launch the Estranged Students' Solidarity Campaign (ESSC), a new campaign that explores family estrangement and the impact it has on estranged students during university.

The ESSC is primarily designed to raise awareness of estrangement, and the realities estranged students often face.

Estranged students deserve to be heard. As Student Unions are such a central part of the student experience, we believe that you are best placed to run this campaign in partnership with us at Stand Alone and NUS. Your engagement allows a high level of awareness raising and outreach to any student without family support who may not feel comfortable approaching their institution.

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 through an awareness raising campaign

2. To encourage/facilitate a wider discussion on family and changing family dynamics as part of your campaign

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

What does the campaign ask from SUs?

• To run a weeklong awareness raising campaign 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.

• Christmas is a difficult period for those not in touch with their families. In 2017 the campaign took place during week 27.11 - 02.12 2017. 

• Document your campaign through blogposts, pictures, etc: which we can share via social media.

There is more information about the Campaign in our ESSC information booklet and in the NUS ESSC Guide.

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