For the academic year 2022/23 the Union are introducing Support Reps! Support Reps will be responsible for identifying issues and raising awareness in areas affecting students such as health, Wellbeing, equality & diversity and personal safety. 

This scheme is running as a pilot scheme for this academic year. This means we are trialling it in three schools. The following schools are taking part: 

  • School of Health and Medical Science  
  • School of Sociology  
  • School of Mechanical Engineering 

We really hope we will be able to run this scheme across all courses over the coming years.  

Click through for some FAQ’s!

What do Support Reps do? 

A Support Rep will have three responsibilities: 

  1. Research student opinion – Chat to the students on their course and gather as much feedback as possible, whether it is positive feedback or something that needs changing. 
  1. Represent students – They will attend departmental meetings held by the University twice a semester to give voice to what your fellow students have said, and they will also moderate their feedback board on MySurrey Voice powered by Unitu to raise student feedback between meetings. 
  1. Report back – Finally, they will let students know what has happened because of their feedback! This shows students the value of sharing their opinions with you and the University.  

Why should you become a Rep?  

Aside from becoming a recognisable and respected student leader, being a Support Rep comes with loads of benefits offered to you from your Students’ Union. Here’s just a few: 

  • A record of your role detailed on your HEAR 
  • Training opportunities 
  • Logging volunteering hours  
  • Get access to other opportunities eg. workshops, focus groups 
  • Become a vital part of your department’s community  

Being a Support Rep is also a fantastic way to boost your employability, assertiveness, and communication skills. Having a leadership role on your CV when you leave University is going to help you stand out from the crowd, and help you to develop qualities you’ll need when you leave Surrey to start work – think about how much practice you’ll have in public speaking and negotiation from attending departmental meetings and representing your cohort.  

What’s the time commitment? 

Not as much as you might think! Many Reps easily balance their responsibilities alongside their studies and other voluntary roles, and even part-time work. You’ll need to ensure you have the time to attend Support Rep meetings – these are the core responsibility to the role. You can expect to attend 3 meetings a semester, which will take up about 10 hours total.  

There are also some other time commitments, such as USSU events like Student Voice Forum, and these will add around 3 hours per semester. The rest of your role will be less time-demanding – sending out emails and posting on social media to gather student opinion and to update your cohort on the results of your departmental meetings. 

All in all, you’re looking at around 10-15 hours each semester, which works out at an average of just an hour a week

Why are Support Reps important and why should I get involved with their work? 

Communication: Support Reps are going to an essential link between students, University staff, and the Union. Staff can help feed back to students when there has been a response from the department to issues raised by Reps, creating a dialogue and helping students understand when immediate change is not possible. They will also be the main link between students and the senior personal tutors, creating a chain of communication we have not had in the past.  

Solve problems at the earliest opportunity: students can often notice different issues to staff, and some of these situations are easily remedied quickly with the collaboration of the department. This can mean issues are dealt with quickly, ahead of student surveys or before dissatisfaction has the chance to spread 

Creating a supportive environment: We know from research that students prefer to engage with their fellow’s peer’s when they are experiencing problems. In the Equality Survey Unit (2014) 75% of students reported that they have reached out to a fellow student for support or guidance, whereas only 3% of students had reached out to their university. We are hoping that by creating a platform for students where they can raise concerns with their peers in a way they feel comfortable.