Incite has asked all candidates in this years SU elections what they want to change at Surrey.

In the running to be your next President is Izzy Watkins, Ajay Ajimobi, Akshant Nagar, and Ana Monteiro.

Izzy Watkins

Hello Incite readers! My name is Izzy Watkins and it is has been an absolute honour representing you this past year as Vice President Community, but now I am ready to step up and lead the students’ union as your next Union President. I came to Surrey to study music and during my years here, the students’ union shaped my Surrey story. From the opportunity to represent my cohort as a course rep, to founding and being president of a society, PetSoc. And I want to play a part in providing a great student experience for you.

May be an image of Izzy Watkins and text that says "I'm voting Izzy [1] for Union President #MakeStudentLifelzzyer"
Izzy Watkins

But what would I like to change at Surrey?

Student employability

Helping students prepare for their future careers is something I feel the students’ union needs to have a greater focus on. And one way we can do this is by running a tutoring agency. External agencies are notorious for taking a cut from their tutors’ earnings, but with our own agency, students will keep 100% of the money they earn. The university already has strong relationships with local schools, particularly through the Widening Participation and Outreach department, and I will work closely with them to make local schools aware of the agency. 

Students’ Union presence on Manor Park
With the majority of student beds now on the Manor Park campus and hundreds more students studying over there, it’s time we brought the students’ union to the students. I would like to create a small students’ union hub on Manor Park so the sabbatical officers can split their time between the campuses. 

Breaking down financial barriers to student activity
Getting involved in activity has been the highlight of my student experience, and I want sport clubs and societies to be accessible to all students. However, the cost of memberships, equipment and other charges can be a massive barrier for many students. Therefore, I would like to launch an ‘Access To Activities’ grant which will pay for memberships and other costs for students from low-income and/ or WPO backgrounds. 

An empowered liberation network

I will create a strong recruitment campaign for the liberation network that will highlight to students the positive impact they can make on their peers by joining the network. I want to empower the students who wish to volunteer their time to represent their respective community on campus and give them thorough training so they have the best chance of successfully leading change that will help and support their communities. I will ensure that all the sabbatical officers take time to get to know the reps and involve them in relevant campaigns.

For more information about my pledges, my experiences, and my campaign songs (yes, songS!) please visit @IzzyForSurreyPresident21 on Instagram.

Ajay Ajimobi

Hi, my name is Ajay Ajimobi, I am a final year law student, last year I was Vice-President Voice. This year I’m running for Union President!

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Ajay Ajimobi

I’ve been involved in the union for numerous years, I was ACS President 17/18, executive voice zone member 18/19 and then VP Voice 19/20. Fun fact, I am the first ever female VP Voice at Surrey! As VP Voice I wrote the BAME Student Experience report and standardised the election of course reps and introduced course rep socials. I also hosted a PGR Research show case to celebrate the achievement of postgrads as they’re doing great things and we out to hear about them! Aside from being involved in the union I was also previously a student life mentor, and I’m currently a student ambassador.

My campaign is all about representing you and your interests, ensuring that students are made a top priority by the university. The main points on my manifesto cover education, wellbeing and equality, diversity and inclusion.

One of my policies is to scrap graduation ticket fees. We pay so much through tuition fees and rent the least the university could do is provide us free tickets to our graduation ceremony. Therefore, if elected President I would like to lobby the university to remove graduation ticket fees. Several other universities provide students with free tickets so why can’t Surrey do the same?

I am advocating to prevent deadline and exam clashes to minimise the impact on your wellbeing. As a Law student who consistently has coursework deadlines due on the same day, I understand that meeting deadlines can be very stressful. Therefore, I will be advocating for the university to prevent deadline clashes and provide adequate spacing between exams to minimise stress and promote better emotional and mental well being for students. It is imperative that there is an adequate exam timetabling.

I would like to like to see Surrey become compliant with the University Mental Health Charter. Our mental health is important; therefore, the university should work towards achieving the charter to shape a future in which everyone in surrey can thrive.

Equality, diversity, and Inclusion should be at the top of the agenda for both the union and university. The university is so diverse, and all students should be given equal opportunities irrespective of their differences and should feel part of the surrey community. One of my manifesto points with regards to EDI is to make unconscious bias training attendance mandatory for all staff members.

If you have any questions/ideas or just fancy a chat feel free to message me on Instagram @Ajay4President or Facebook at Ajay Ajimobi 😊

Akshant Nagar

I am Akshant Nagar, a student of MSc Economics. Having also been a Course Representative, I have a strong passion for representing others to help them receive a better university experience. To continue my passion for providing a voice to students, I am focusing on four key areas within my campaign with the aim to ensure easier, clear, and effective communication and facilitation with and between students, societies, clubs and the University.

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Akshant Nagar

I want to make the university a better experience for students by implementing changes that will help to improve mental health, reduce financial pressures, and make students feel valued and heard.
If there is one thing which I would like to change; rather I would like to say bring improvement upon existing system, would be increasing the scope and opportunity of employability for every student. Students join university with the hope of getting the value of money against the investment which make. It is one the key concern of international students, especially those coming from low- and middle-income countries. If they are being assured that university will go for an extra mile to support them in hunting for part-time/full-time jobs and internships for both EU and Non-EU students in every case especially during covid when the issue of high tuition fees and lack of job opportunities is very real, it gives mental relief to students.
One of the ways for increasing employment opportunity could be liaising with clubs and societies in and around Surrey to so that students connect with clubs and societies outside the university and carry out their passion even after graduation, increasing the prospect of employment in the work they love. Also, Creation of common platform for Alumni, Students and the University staffs would be beneficial to boost employment opportunities, make appropriate improvements in the modules based on industry needs and guidance for current students through direct interactions.
The university experience is about so much more than just obtaining a degree. I wholeheartedly believe that we need to go out there as productive members of society who will contribute to not only creating change but also enriching our communities for ourselves and our future generations, and to do that we need to be involved in more ways than just our academics.
To be a Student Union President will be a unique opportunity to hone leadership, communication etc. skills for me. With similar prior experience of coordinating the works of various societies and extra-curricular activities during school and college, wherein my performance with zeal and skill was recognized by authorities and also, with the experience of working as consultant for one of the top prioritized. development programme of the Govt. of India, where I received various awards and accolades by government bodies for my initiatives, I am confident that I would be able to provide best possible support to all students.
More Voices from the Students,

More Opportunities for the Students!

Ana Monteiro did not respond to the invitation to write for Incite.

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