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RAG is synonymous not only within the University of Southampton, but all over the country. It is the focal point of the university’s charity fundraising. I sat down with President Issy Worrall, Trinity Officer Jarvis Stanton and Challenges Officer Naomi Lucking to discuss what RAG is really about, how you can get involved, and how they plan to make RAG even bigger and better in the coming year!
Who are RAG?
Issy: RAG is part of the Union, and deals with all the charities and charitable actions that go on at the university. Whether it’s a bake sale for a charity of your choice. You’ll have to come to apply to us, send in an application, and all the money you makes comes through us and adds onto our total at the end of the year! We also have three core charities, that we raise money for through-out the year.
Issy: HCPT, Action Against Hunger, and Alzheimer’s Society. We also run international adventures alongside these ones, for a range of
Naomi: I’m Challenges Officer, and this year we’re running five challenges. Which are Kilimanjaro for the Meningitis Research Foundation, the Uganda gorilla trek with East African Playgrounds, Machu Picchu with the Children’s Society, London to Paris cycle ride in aid of Breast Cancer Now, and the Prague Marathon for Action Against Hunger. I’d like to think my role is more of a fun way to get involved, it’s how I came in!
And Jarvis, what about your position?
Jarvis: Yeah, so I’m the Trinity Officer. It’s kind of the adventure side of RAG.
Naomi: Not that my side isn’t, you know, being Challenges Officer.
Jarvis: The debonair side of RAG. (Everyone is seriously impressed with Jarvis’ choice of adjective) We have our three main events: Jailbreak, which is coming up soon. You have 36 hours to get as far away from the uni as possible, and trust me, people can get far. Like last year’s winners got to Hong Kong! And that’s where Richard Branson comes in. (The winners tweeted him after they heard he gave the winners from Cambridge return tickets to Thailand!) Which raised £13.4K! Tickets are on sale now!
And what if people’s parents buy them tickets?
Jarvis: Well that’s just cheating. But if you don’t want to go abroad, we do have the Race to the North, which is basically the first team to get to Scotland, or as far north as they can get. The next event is Enigma.
Issy: Ohhh I like that one!
Jarvis: It’s happening in February. It’s a mystery bar crawl…well a drinking crawl to a mystery city for a night out. They black out the windows and drive you to a secret location.
Where was it last year?
Issy: It was to Brighton.
Naomi: It’s not a mystery night in the middle of no where, it is a big night out! Issy stewarded it last year, and she still had so much fun.
Jarvis: And the last one is Lost99, where you’re dropped 99 miles from uni, and have to make your way back within 12 hours. So last year we took them to Torquay, on a little cliff! Unfortunately by road it was 114 miles away.
Issy: On Bank Holiday weekend, so no one was coming back this way!
So how did you guys get involved with RAG? And why?
Issy: I got involved with RAG, because I’ve always been interested in volunteering and charity work. I did quite a lot during my gap year. I heard of it through my flatmates in first year, who did Jailbreak and Lost. And then during the summer, there was an opening the committee, I applied and got the role (Campaigns Officer)!
And now you’re President!
Jarvis: I actually got involved by EAP (East African Playgrounds) for the Uganda Gorilla Trek, via Facebook. So I went to the meeting, and kind of made the spontaneous decision. Cause I never went on a gap year, but have always wanted to do some volunteering, and just continued from there. I did the MegaRaid and stewarded for Enigma, and I helped out Morgan who held my position last year when he had his dissertation due.
Naomi: See it’s all about the adventures!
Jarvis: See, if you’re going to do something do it for someone else. (Cue the “aw’s”)
Naomi: I carried on the way I started. I did Machu Picchu in my first year. It’s one of the things I’ve always wanted to see! And whilst I was in Peru, the old Challenges Officer said he hadn’t found anyone to lead the Marathon (Budapest), and I was like I’ll do it.
What does RAG actually offer the students apart from the adventures?
Naomi: I think the idea is, is that we’re here to support other people’s fundraising, like any charity fundraising around the uni. If you’re passionate about anything you want to fundraise for, RAG is here to help you. Setting up events etc.
Issy: RAG is a really open community, like we have those who are heavily involved, such as the committee, but we have a lot of people who just like to get involved in random things. The beauty of RAG is its diversity, you can come and bucket shake for an hour, or sign up to do one of the challenges.
Naomi: You can commit a whole year or five minutes to something, and it all goes towards something.
What can Freshers expect from you?
Issy: They can expect a huge Halls vs Halls Megaraid- a massive street collection. Each halls get their own theme! We have Breastival with 6 live music acts; including 3 acoustic acts, 2 bands and one 9 piece jazz band.
Jarvis: The jazz band are awesome!
Naomi: It’s going to be awesome, so everyone should come!
What are your future plans and ambitions for this year?
Issy: For me, I would like to increase our volunteer numbers. Have a solid base of volunteers who want to turn up every week to help. And also raise the RAG total to £200,000!
Jarvis: Want to basically just make each event bigger!
Try and get people to New Zealand?
Jarvis: Yeah! I really want to beat Hong Kong!
And you, Naomi?
Naomi: Basically, just the same. Just make the events and trips bigger. In terms of more recruits and just people knowing about them!
Jarvis: The challenges are a once in a lifetime opportunity!
RAG offer so many amazing opportunities for such worthwhile charities. If you’re interested in getting involved, head over to their Facebook page for updates on all the events they have coming up!