Unless you've been living under a rock the last few weeks, you will know that it's time to decide on who will represent us next year in the Student's Union. So before voting opens in the evening of the 26th, the first question that might spring to mind is: who do I actually want to vote for? The amount of posters plastered over campus can be overwhelming, making it hard to differentiate between candidates, and so it can be tempting to merely pick the prettiest one or just copy your friends.
There are however many ways to decide which candidate is the right choice for you. First, how about actually reading the manifestos of each candidate?! This will outline what they will endeavour to do if elected into the role they are running for. When reading the manifestos, consider whether the promises are something you’d like to see implemented – think about what issues matters to you (better accessibility on campus, perhaps? Or maybe better housing in the private sector?). Also think about whether these ideas are actually achievable. It’s all well and good these candidates promising the world to gain popularity, but actually implanting these changes next year might be a different story. Also look out for vague points such as ‘make housing better’, because this this would enable the candidate to not be accountable for implementing change, as they have not given themselves a measurable target. When reading over manifestos, look for candidates who say the ‘how’ as well as the ‘what’. A full list of candidate manifestos can be found here.
During the campaigning period candidates normally are out and about on campus engaging with students and answering any questions they may have on their manifesto. This is a great way to learn more about them, and decide if they are the right choice for your vote. If you don’t manage to see them in person, a lot of candidates are also active on social media, and might even have a dedicated account for their campaign. This is another great way to ask any questions you may have.
The final thing I found useful in my first two years when deciding who to vote for, was to watch Question Time. If you’re a first year and have no idea what I am talking about, Question Time is basically where the candidates will be questioned on policies, and any gaps in their manifesto will be ripped to pieces. This is usually a really fun event to watch, as the candidates are always thrown some tricky questions, and it’s great to see them sweat a little and see how they react under pressure. There is a panel for each role up for grabs, which began on Sunday night in Rubix, with the last session being tonight (Tuesday 26th ). If you missed the first two days of panels, then the whole livestream is available, and if you don’t have time to watch over 2 hours of debates, then the Stag has concise summary articles on our website. When the last panel finishes on Tuesday night, it’s over to you to decide as voting will open.
Now you know who you’re voting for, you may be wondering how to actually support your favourites. When voting opens on the evening of the 26th February, you will be informed via email, which will contain a link to the page where you can vote on all the categories. Alternatively, you can log in on ussu.co.uk to access the voting page. On this page you can rank the candidates based on your preference – so you will give your favourite a (1) rank, second choice a (2), third a (3) and so on. You will also see that RON is running in every category – which may lead you to think that Ron is a busy guy desperate for any role; but in actual fact this stands for ‘Re-Open Nominations’. This option is for if you feel like no candidate would do a good job for the position; if RON wins, the election would have to open up again.
On Saturday 2nd March at 7pm the vote will close, and the results will be announced from 7pm in Hari’s Bar. This will also be live streamed so you can watch from the comfort of your bed.
Voting only takes 5 minutes of your time, but the outcome will end up shaping your next year at Surrey. There really isn’t an excuse to not use your voice in the vote – in 2017 the SU President won by just three votes. Every vote counts – use yours.