Staff and alumni gift their time to students at Christmas

The University has organised a range of activities to support students staying in Edinburgh whose families live elsewhere, particularly those from other countries. 

Students walking a walkway in The Meadows

Students unable to return home for Christmas are being given the chance to meet up with someone over the holidays.

More than 200 staff and 200 alumni have offered to spend time with students remaining in the city because of Covid restrictions.


Staff and alumni who live in the city will meet up with students for socially-distanced outdoor activities, such as running, cycling or walking. 

Students who are keen to get out and about, , but would rather not do it alone, can book timeslots through an online booking form to meet with a staff member or an alumni before Friday 18th Dec

Some 3,000 slots are available throughout the University’s winter holidays, including on Christmas Day. 

A survey found more than 2,700 University of Edinburgh students will be staying in the city when the University shuts down from 21 December to 8 January.

Planned activities

The initiative aims to create a safe environment for students to meet other people, make friends or learn something new.

Further activities include outdoor boot camps, running groups, walking tours, volunteering opportunities and virtual events such as podcasts and quizzes. 

Those staying in catered University accommodation can also enjoy a traditional turkey dinner on Christmas Day. 

Students can find out more about the activities, and the support being offered during the winter break on the Winter Break Activities SharePoint and on the UoE Events App, which is downloadable from any app store.

Community spirit

Professor Colm Harmon, Vice-Principal Students at the University of Edinburgh, said: “I am delighted so many of our staff and alumni are supporting our students at what can be a difficult time of year. 

“We have a range of support available for students who can’t go home and we hope this initiative will help ensure they don’t feel they are alone. 

“This year has been incredibly challenging for everyone, and it is wonderful to see our community pull together in this way.”

Related links

Booking an event via MyEd

Winter Break Activities SharePoint

Image credit:  Robert Brady