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The Community Zone: What You Should Know by Ivelina Dobreva

With the Surrey Decides campaigns starting earlier this week, it would probably be a good time to brush up on some of the main responsibilities of the community zone and its members. After all, it's the community zone that brings you entertaining events in Rubix, gives you the opportunity to dress up for the awards ball and introduces you to a variety of cultures during One World Week. Yet, there is so much more to the community zone than just that.

The community zone is led by one of the sabbatical officers and is responsible for bringing the student body together, representing students' views within both campus and the local community. The zone is also working on different local volunteering opportunities and fundraising activities. In fact, a new role was introduced this year to shadow exactly that - the so called Raising and Giving (RAG) Executive Chair.

The vice president (a full-time, paid role) alongside the four zone members (part-time, voluntary positions) work on community relations, entertainment and showcase events, volunteering and campaigning, and have a real impact on the student experience.

For this year's Surrey Decides, we have six candidates for the VP Community, two for RAG Chair, and nine going for a zone member role.

For the position of VP Community we have Jacob Allen, Amina Ehiobuche-Nagwamma, Tristan Phillips, Atchuthan Soorasangaram, Zita Ilosvai and Yan Zhu running with their manifestos focusing on issues such as accommodation, integration and safety, and community relations.

There are some interesting points worth drawing attention to in each candidate's manifesto. For example, Phillips's proposal of implementing a three year rent freeze on accommodation, which will, according to him, relieve the burden from students by making accommodation more affordable. Allen wants to fight for greater sustainability on campus by developing a fund specifically for sustainability. Soorasangaram suggests setting up more self-defence classes for students, as one way of improving on-campus safety. Ehiobuche-Nagwamma implores for the removal of circuit laundry and the expanding of the Thursday market. Zhu is campaigning for a 'colourful student life' by improving the student engagement with both day and night-time events on campus. Ilosvai has not released a manifesto.

Have any of these candidates sparked your interest at all? Why not check out their manifestos in detail here, and ask any burning questions that come to mind by contacting the members directly on social media, or wait till Question Time, which will kick off at 7pm this Sunday.

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