Volunteering for RAG, or Raise and Give – was a good idea. For a start, I received a trial for the netball team through my successful score of three hoops within 30 seconds (Don’t ask how many times I missed).
Admittedly, it was rewarding to be part of the Union’s society for raising money for charities, and in a day were over £1500 was raised for good causes, it seems to have been a rewarding day for the said charities as well.
The mood on campus was lively and well attended. Many groups of freshers’ did seem to be bemused by the whole activity going on campus, but then again, seeing people jumping into tents, fighting with swords and painted tiger faces jumping at you can do that. I think it’s perfectly normal, but that’s just me.
I spoke to Anyali Dwesar, a first time volunteer for RAG. Who tells me she just wanted to get involved with RAG as she saw it was heaps of fun. I couldn’t agree more – there’s lots going on with plenty of mini-games to encourage people to donate and get involved. There’s an “army” of red t-shirts out on the concourse. Lyndsey Banthorpe, the Social Secretary, says it is about raising RAG’s profile. It certainly seems to be doing well –people have told me on numerous occasions that its already an improvement on last year.
Emily Rees, the VP for Welfare and Societies, gives me a comment on how she thinks the day has gone for SUSU Raise and Give. “Fantastically”, she starts off, “it is a good opportunity for RAG and societies to promote themselves as well as fundraising. It is also nice to see what we have organized over the summer come to fruition; as well as showing off all of our student talent.” As we talk, live music is performed by performers from societies such as Showstoppers. The song “For Good” from Wicked is being sung and acts as a testament to the talent Emily speaks of.
There are many student charities and societies about, and the people manning them have been creative in attracting people to visit and potentially sign up. The Environmental Sciences Society students’ have a stall of endangered species, which you can have face painted on. I elected to have a tortoise. Tortoises are cool. I am told by Amy, the Vice President, that they are also doing a raffle to raise money for their society and they’re doing quite well.
I also visit the skydiving society, where I am told I can find “love in the sky” (this seems to be an added bonus to jumping out of a plane), the Liberal Democrat society pin a “Homophobia is gay” badge on me and I play a round of “bash the fat cat” which they have on the stall. The theme of getting involved is something I am told by their committee members, and it is something which is apparent on all these stalls.
One of the charities here, Mountbatten Hospice – benefits from getting involved with the fundraising of RAG. Kat Lisleyhood tells me they are an invaluable resource for the 3000 terminally ill cancer patients they look after every year. This year they have to reach a target of a million pounds, and it is events such as RAG which can help them to do that. It is also an example of where students can help charities out in the local community.
All in all, I would say Raise and Give’s event has been a huge success. It is a prime example of how students can use their time at university to help charities and join societies. It is also a great launch to the new year, in which RAG will be bigger and better than before.
Best of luck to them – and if you don’t mind, I’m going to go back and shoot some hoops with the Netball society. Hopefully I won’t get hit in the face this time by a ball being thrown back at me. Practice makes perfect?
You can get involved with Raise and Give by finding the group on Facebook, just add “Rag Susu” to your friends list, or join the group: SUSU RAG.