What RAG needs to be raising awareness of is itself if it wants students to donate

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RAG societies, or raising and giving, collect money for a number of good causes and that has always got to be good thing. It’s a point no one can argue with. The work done by the RAG committee and the support the rest of the University gives is inherently brilliant.

It would however, be even better if I knew how to show my support and get involved. This year I didn’t know what is going on for RAG Week or give support and I don’t think I am alone in this. There have been messages on Facebook but other than that not much hype has been created about what is going on during RAG Week. It hardly compares to hype that surrounds the much awaited Extravs in the summer. Indeed with Extravs all the events and activities are discussed and known by the majority of campus months in advance. But to find the date of RAG Week requires serious digging, let alone what went on. I wouldn’t be surprised if much of the student body did not know that it went on at all.

Last year we only raised £3,500, which sounds like a lot of money. It is a whole years worth of tuition fees at the moment after all. But when you compare this to our rivals the University of York who raised an amazing £25,000, it is pitiful. Even the University of Cumbria raised more then us, with at total last year of £4,200, not quite to York’s standards but still more than us which frankly is embarrassing. Obviously, yes, every little helps as Tesco says but couldn’t we be doing a little bit better than that. Why is York so much better than us at raising money for charity? Do the students of Lancaster just not care or should RAG Week be more interesting to get more students involved and parting with their cash?

It seems that the majority of money for RAG week comes from the sale of the RAG bands that give wearers discounts in many clubs, bars, shops and restaurants in Lancaster. This is great and probably saves us penny-pinching students some cash but it is hardly thrilling, fun and exciting. It hardly creates a buzz across campus. Other activities included a bake sale, classic Carleton night out and bag packing in Sainsbury’s. None of these particularly catch my attention, I am on a diet, I hate the Carleton and even if and I am perfectly capable of packing my own shopping, thanks.

The lack of exciting events to persuade students to give to charity whilst having a bit of fun is shown up even when it gets thrown again into contrast, yet again, with our rivals York.

At the University of York RAG Week they have events such as a fashion show, some of the students are sponsored to hitchhike to Amsterdam, and they put on a James Bond style casino night. All of these events sound interesting, all of these events would persuade me, at least, to come along and either spend my money or get involved raising it. So why can’t we do something just as exciting at Lancaster?

Giving to charity shouldn’t be something that we should have to persuade someone to do, you might say. Charity should come from the goodness of one’s heart and shouldn’t be commoditisied through fashion shows and exciting events and parties. But the whole idea of RAG Week is to make raising money for charity more fun and hopefully by doing so raising even more money.

At the time of writing the total profit of this years RAG week is unknown and hopefully we will raise more than last year and more than our rivals, but at the moment I’m not holding out much hope.

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6 Comments

  1. Gosh, until I read this article I didn’t realise that giving to charity had become a competitive sport. Reading the above has put paid well and truly to my ignorance. I was under the illusion that the principle motivation behind charitable events and indeed people’s willingness to donate was the satisfaction of contributing to a good cause. How wrong one can be. Perhaps if Lancaster’s student and local population were similarly affluent to York’s, more money would have been raised here.

    Might I suggest another article is required expressing further dismay and embarrassment, this time at the size of Lancaster University’s pitiful duck pond when compared to the majestic lake of our York nemesis. This is but another ‘competition’ in which we have failed to triumph.

    At the risk of sounding petulant, I couldn’t help but notice a few errors within your article.

    Line 2 “got to be good thing”
    Line 6 “This year I didn’t know what is going on”
    Line 17 “Cumbria raised more then us”
    “with at total last year”
    Line 19 “couldn’t we be doing a little bit better than that.” (Lack of question mark)
    Line 29 “and even if and I am perfectly capable”

    Perhaps the piece was written in haste. I imagine those who organise RAG Week are extremely time pressured too (yes, ‘too’ has a second ‘o’, in reference to a further oversight in your previous article about buses). From what I know of this year’s RAG society Exec, they’ve been working jolly hard, doing the best they can with what they’ve got.

    I’m not overly concerned about the issue of Lancaster’s RAG Week credentials at large, but it really is riling to see individuals whose own performance in their hobbies is far from perfect, scoffing at others’ commendable efforts. This sort of thing really isn’t what I’ve come to expect from SCAN after four years of patronage. Shame on you.

  2. I’m also slightly bemused at the numerical details. The article is very specific as to the details of Lancaster University and the University of Cumbria, yet the earnings of York’s RAG Week (£22,577.04) do seem slightly exaggerated, almost disloyal you could say. (My feeling is someone got rejected from the University of York). The students of RAG week give much to the benefit of others, not for their own gain, but simply out of compassion for those to whom the money supports; may we not lose sight of this in future. May I also agree with the welcome comments of the Management School Student above on behalf of any balanced reader, and suggest these rants are kept away from public consumption.

  3. I just want to say that I love Leah Smith and the effort she put into last years RAG week was brilliant <3

  4. I think it is an awful shame that SCAN has allowed this article to be published. When people raise money for charity it is not up to anyone else to judge the amount they have raised, especially when the group of people raising it have exerted a lot of effort in doing so. Also, the Lancaster RAG society faces many restrictions regarding what they can and can not do to raise money, an issue which was not addressed in this article. Perhaps in future if someone wants to highlight an issue about the amount of money being collected by the RAG society, they should do it in a more positive way. If this piece had initially looked at the brilliant work the RAG society does and celebrated the amount of money it has raised in past years, then I do not doubt that many individuals would have welcomed suggestions of how we can make the RAG society and week even bigger and better. Unfortunately, this piece just takes a very negative and damning approach which will always fail to inspire enthusiasm and change.

  5. “Unfortunately, this piece just takes a very negative and damning approach which will always fail to inspire enthusiasm and change.”

    Bang on. I have my own opinions about this year’s RAG week, but I would never use the top down approach of ‘this was great/terrible’; that doesn’t work. No-one should ever be made to feel belittled for actively doing some extra-curricular, however successful (or not) it was. If someone feels strongly enough that RAG have not raised the bar – perhaps they could get involved and suggest some new ideas themselves.

    I don’t think it is far to paint the writer as a sort of charity-hating polemic, and I’m sure that she had the best intentions in trying to actually help RAG, but this style of writing is unfortunately all too common for SCAN these days..

  6. I look forward to the official RAG response, at least the author of this article thought to check their facts first:
    http://www.thenationalstudent.com/News/2011-03-09/if_scan_is_negative_about_people_doing_good_things_they_will_never_happen.html

    please think about the reputation of the newspaper, which you are damaging with ill thought out ‘articles’ such as this

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