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Hi and welcome to the Union Chair blog! Want to find out what's happening at your union? Have a look around, any questions email me on or follow on twitter @ussuchair

My aim here is to ensure a transparent and open communication stream between students and their union by keeping them in the loop about what is being discussed and the changes being made to help improve student life for the better. My blogs will be mostly focussing on Exec as well as helping inform students when and where exec shall be. 


Zainab Donli 
Union Chair 

Feb 16
Take a seat, lets talk about the Top 5 FAQs of The Union Chair

With nominations closing WEDNESDAY here's an attempt​​​ at explaining what the Union Chair does, this could be you next year...

1. What are the role responsibilities?


  • The Only Student Trustee on Board of Trustees
  • A Company Director of USSU
  • Chairperson of Exec, Dem Com and Surrey Decides Planning Committee
  • Responsible for ensuring fair conduct of democracy within union decisions and the upholding of the Bye Laws
  • Responsible for ensuring the accountability of full time (and part time) officers for students' behalf
  • Responsible for the organisation and advertising of Exec committee meetings and the overall transparency
  • Responsible for ensuring that students understand the inner workings of the students' union
  • Chairperson of the AMM (Annual Members Meeting) 12th May 2016 and occurs every year
  • Stand in for the Sabb Roles for any PRAP, PRP and Disciplinary panels they cannot attend.
  • NUS Conferences (optional)



2. How much time does it take?​

  • Board of Trustees occurs on a Monday evening four times a year. The Union Chair is vital in this position as they're the ONLY student voice currently a student on the trustee board.
  • The bye laws state that Exec has to occur at least once a month. It's up to the Union Chair as to how frequently these meetings occur and how long they are.
  • Dem Com is the 'Democratic Committee' and they only meet in the lead up to Surrey Decides. Once these have been decided they are finished, unless for some reason something goes wrong during Surrey decides which requires them to meet again.
  • Surrey Decides Planning happens after Dem Com has finished in the weeks leading up to the elections.
  • The AMM (Annual Members Meeting) happens once a year, the Union would cease to exist (dramatic I know) as this is where budgets are agreed and policies approved.

This is the minimum amount of time you may be required, however, it's up to you. In my opinion, the more you give the more you can get out of it and the more involved you can be!

3. How did you balance this part time role with your studies?

My biggest tip is to have a diary. I carry mine everywhere and make sure I enter all my dates in advance. Any meeting requests you receive 9 times out of 10 will be in advance which allows you to plan ahead. I am a final year music student and I manage to juggle my final year course, my own musical activities, the union chair position and even enjoy time with the surf and snow club on campus. It is possible; your time management skills will be on point.

(I​ don't know that many people, I probably wouldn't win…​)

NO! This is not an excuse; I am telling you this is what campaigning is all about. Everyone starts somewhere, I didn't get here based on the people I knew at the time I got here because I campaigned and showed people why I wanted to be in this role. There is so much advice available for campaigning and if you run you will be given a briefing on how to campaign, the rules for the elections and can ask for advice anytime. There is support available. You will know what to do, all you need is your passion for change.

5. Why did You Run?

When running for office, I ran with the mind set of positive change and how to make a difference. It presented me with the opportunity to be a part of not only an amazing company but an amazing Union who work with a student focused mind set with a student lead team. Students have a massive voice and it's a once in a life time opportunity to be able to help vocalise student needs, and to be able to make a difference, allowing you to give something back. You are presented with numerous opportunities, you meet a lot of new people and you learn things that you just can't learn whilst sat in lectures. It's a different style of learning but is something you can tell is helping shape you as a person. If you have a passion for positive change and helping people, then you should definitely consider running as an officer. I was first involved in the Union during my second year as Societies Exec Chair and since then I never looked back. ​

To see why others ran in #SurreyDecides have a look here!


6. Is there anything you would suggest for the next Union Chair?​

Yes! Always, your time in office is wonderful and you can get the ball rolling for many things but a year is not always enough time to see the end of your projects. There is still plenty of things I'd love to see happen for the Union Chair and Exec in the future, and have been honoured for the opportunity to play my part in it. Now it's up to you…​

If you have any further questions or just want to have a quick chat, email me on, on twitter @ussuchair  or if you see me on campus (you'll see my red shirt) come say hi! I'm more than happy to help.

​ Hi, I'm Zainab Donli, your Union Chair 2016-17 at Surrey Students' Union. Come say hi! If you have any questions please email

or follow me on twitter