Frequently Asked Questions
Why should I be a candidate?
Whilst there are many reasons why people run for positions in SurreyDecides, below are a few reasons previous students have noted for running:
- Wanted to improve the student experience
- Had clear ideas that they wanted to implement on campus
- Personal experience of issues on campus and a desire to solve them
- Experience of alternative systems in other Universities
- Interest in working in Student Unions or politics after graduation
- Opportunity to talk to, and engage with, more students
One thing that all of these people had in common was determination to change things on campus for the better!
Am I eligible to be a candidate?
In order to be a candidate in Surrey Decides, you must be a current student at the University. For part-time roles, you must be studying next year; full-time roles can be contested by students at any stage of their degree (including final years).
- Full time roles will require you to pause your studies (if applicable) for the following year and do not count as a placement.
- You can be a candidate whilst on placement.
- International students can be candidates and the Union can offer support if a role may affect your visa terms.
- Both undergraduate and postgraduate students (masters and doctoral) are eligible.
Can I talk to anyone about my manifesto?
Absolutely - whether you're thinking of running or your nomination's already in, get in touch with the relevant Sabbatical Officer:
How can I get involved?
If you would like to run for a position in Surrey Decides you must ensure your nomination is completed during the nomination period. To do this you must complete a candidate form with your contact details, the role you wish to run for, and the emails of individuals who support your candidacy (5 for Part-time roles and 10 for Sabbatical positions).
Your proposers will then receive an automated email to confirm that they endorse your candidacy. Each individual can endorse two candidates within Surrey Decides, so long as they are not running for the same position.
Alternatively, if you want to get involved without running for a position, you can act as one of our student chairs for Question Time by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
What do I do if there are problems with my nominators?
If you have any issues with nominations please contact email@example.com as soon as possible.
If there is an issue with contacting an individual or IT issues, it is possible to alter your proposers, but you must contact us in order to do so. However, if it exceeds the deadline, you may not be able to run in Surrey Decides.
What am I expected to do as a Candidate?
Candidates are invited to attend a briefing which outlines the rules of the election process and offers advice on each aspect of this process. There are three main task each candidates are expected to complete:
- Submit a manifesto and ballot photo by the manifesto deadline
- Campaign during the campaigning period
- Attend each Question Time (optional but strongly recommended)
What is a Manifesto?
A manifesto is your opportunity to showcase your main aims to the student body. These typically include 3-4 main aims that you will complete within your year as a Sabbatical officer, and should be primarily relevant to the role you are running for. These points should be achievable, clearly defined, and easy to measure.
The manifesto is also your chance to showcase who you are as an individual to the student population, either through a short bio, design choices, or choice of images. You can include hobbies, sports or societies that endorse your campaign, or evidence of why you are qualified for the role. Each manifesto is unique and individual, but you can check out previous manifestos for inspiration.
This year all manifestos and other candidate information can be uploaded using a form, the link to the form is in the candidate rules.
What is Question Time?
Question Time is each candidate's opportunity to show why they are the best person for their role during a livestreamed debate alongside fellow candidates for the same position. Each night will consist of various roles taking the spotlight for an hour each (slightly longer for President) within Rubix.
Question Time is livestreamed by StagTV, including commentary following each debate. StagRadio will also air the audio of the debate followed by a student-led commentary. Each year #SurreyDecides trends in the UK due to the sheer number of students who engage with the event, meaning that it is a key opportunity for any candidate to shine.
How can I prepare for Question Time?
Candidates will be given advice on preparing for question time at the briefing, but here are some general tips:
- Know your manifesto well
- Watch previous Question Time events for ideas of what questions may come up (you can find these on the SurreyUnion YouTube channel)
- Ask friends to interview you on your campaign points
- Talk to students and see what issues are most relevant to them
What if I cannot make it to Question Time?
If you cannot make it to Question Time please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know. We can arrange for you to video call in. We advise all candidates to attend each night, or watch from home via the livestream or Youtube recording.
Are there limitations on campaigning?
There are limitations on how and when you can campaign during this period. Below is a list of some of the main rules for the campaign period, but we advise all candidates attend the rules briefing to ensure that they fully understand this process.
- Campaigning can only occur from the time in which the campaigning period opens
- All promotional material (online only) must be removed or made not public by 6pm on the day of the results
- There is a no tolerance policy on sabotaging another candidates materials
- In person campaigning is banned
- You are not to pressure students into voting for you, nor watch them vote – all votes must be private to avoid coercion.
- No campaigning whilst working for the University or Student's Union
What should I do if I believe a rule has been broken?
If you have evidence that a candidate has broken any of the election period rules, or is being needlessly disruptive to students, please contact email@example.com.
Please note that candidates should focus on their own campaigns; repeated unfounded or vexatious complaints against a competitor may affect your own position in the election.