#SurreyDecides: Democracy, decisions and dedication

Surrey Decides is a time of year which current University students, in their second year or above, will know extremely well. However, if you’re a first year student or a prospective student, you will have no idea what those two words mean, so I’m going to explain them to you, and show what massive opportunities they hold.

So. Surrey Decides. Two little words, very big meanings. Surrey Decides is an election process which happens every single year across February/March, where we elect the new Students Union Officers. Our Students Union involves a President, and four Vice Presidents. These people become elected every single year, and they work together to make life better for the Students at the University, and work hard to ensure student issues are taken notice of by the University, and that students have their voices heard. The Union is split into four ‘zones’, however, the President doesn’t have a zone, the President works as President of the Union as a whole entity, and so has responsibilities in all four areas of student life. Within each zone, there is a ‘VP’ (Vice President) which is a full time role, the same as President, and then a committee of five people which are all part time roles. So, obviously you cannot do a full time Job whilst at University, therefore people often run in the elections for a full time position in their final year, so they come into their role straight after graduation. However, you can do a full time position at any point, and take a year out of your degree to do it, similar to a placement. Part Time positions you can do alongside your studies however, so these are perfect for people wanting to get involved with active change alongside their degree. I am currently an elected part time Officer for the Voice Zone, and it is amazing. 

Therefore the Structure of the Union is as follows:


President (Full Time)

Union Chair (Part Time)

RAG Chair (Part Time)

Voice Zone

VP Voice (Full Time)

Voice Zone Committee (5 spaces, part time)

Community Zone

VP Community (Full Time)

Community Zone Committee (5 spaces, Part Time)

Activity Zone

VP Activity (Full Time)

Team Surrey Chair (Part Time)

Societies Exec Chair (Part Time)

Activity Zone (3 spaces, Part Time)

Support Zone

VP Support (Full Time)

Support Zone (5 spaces, Part Time)


If you want more information on any of the roles, simply check out the Union Website, as it would take nearly the entirety of this blog post to simply just explain each position. Here’s a quick link that explains each role-https://www.ussu.co.uk/yourunion/Pages/About-us.aspx.

So, that is everybody that needs to be elected every year! Looks like a lot doesn’t it? However, the more people who participate the more we can have fair elections and ensure the most brilliant and amazing people for the job are elected into each position, and that person…


Running in the Surrey Decides is an amazing way to contribute to changing student life for the better, and helping to make positive change. It’s also amazing for you personally. I decided to run in Surrey Decides in my first year of University, and so now I am in my second year I am serving my time as an Elected Officer, and although making life better for students has been incredible, it’s also been amazing for how I’ve developed personally and how I’ve matured. You gain so many skills, and you get to work with an amazing team of people who will honestly become your family. It has been the best decision I have ever made, and I have had the MOST fun. It’s rewarding, it’s fun, it’s amazing for your personal development, and it’s so wonderful to see yourself actively making change for your student body.


This was taken during our residential two day training where we had an amazing time bonding in our zones and as a Union in general


Us all attempting to create the letter of our zone and failing massively


During the Nerf War we had during our summer training week


Cheeky selfie with some of the part time officers, featured here we have two community zone members, RAG chair and two voice zone members (Including myself)

Even if you don’t want to campaign for a position, you can still get involved by keeping up to date with the process, reading up on the candidate’s, watching Question Time, and of course, most importantly- voting. Democracy doesn’t work without participation. Question Time is a massive event every year, and hundreds and hundreds of students tune in online to watch the process, so even if you don’t want to leave the warmth of your bed, you can still get involved. The questions can be brutal, there can be drama, there can be tears. You don’t want to miss out. This is also a time where everybody takes to Twitter to discuss their opinions of the candidates and the answers they’re giving, some are kind, some are brutal, some are constructive, and some are downright just a bit out of order (Let’s keep it clean guys, we can all appreciate banter but candidates have feelings too), but trust me, you are not going to want to miss it.

This is YOUR Union.

This is YOUR Student Experience.

Get involved with shaping who is in charge of making life better for you and everyone around you.

Get involved with #SurreyDecides.

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Here are some useful links in case this post has sparked some interest- https://www.ussu.co.uk/voice/Pages/Surrey-Decides.aspx


Last years candidates manifestos, in case you fancy seeing what kind of things people wanted to change and develop, or get some inspiration on how to format yours- https://www.ussu.co.uk/voice/SiteAssets/Pages/Surrey-Decides/Election%20Manifestos%202016.pdf