Why RAG is for everyone
Come one, come all – applications now open for RAG Committee 2015-16! And here’s why you should join
RAG is the largest fundraising society in Cambridge and raises over 160,000 in the academic year for 10 ballot charities.
It’s had a turbulent history. RAG emerged out of World War One and existed to support the Poppy Appeal in commemorating the sacrifices of our Armed Forces and providing life care to those affected by one of the most traumatic events in history.
Somewhere along the way it forgot its origins and lost its serious meaning and became a prank society. Now RAG aims to retain this sense of mischievous fun, whilst remembering its beginnings as a conscientious organisation that takes seriously student’s responsibility to their wider community.
It is this dual aspect to RAG that I think makes it one of the most unique and appealing student societies in the university.
Whether it is receiving drunken calls from Jailbreak winners in Rio, watching videos of LOST participants play bogies in Oxford’s Bodleian Library, being chased by Sidgewick security guards for overenthusiastic use of a megaphone, accidentally killing our Dragon mascot Daphne on Facebook (RIP babes), or getting so wasted at Spoons after Re-union Dinner that you don’t realise when your trousers split or somebody has stolen your shoes, being involved with RAG has proved to be a lot of fun!
I’ve got my kit off for RAG, I’ve worn dresses in public for RAG, I’ve even kissed a porter for RAG. I once collected money for so long that I fell asleep on the train and ended up in Bristol at 2am, only to put back on my charity gear and get a free hitch from a taxi driver all the way back to my home town.
The moments that carry the most weight for me though, are actually the times when we are reminded of the more serious reasons for doing what we do. Every week we have a different one of our chosen charities in to talk to our committee about what they have been doing with the money we raise for them.
There was one occasion when someone from Teenage Rape Crisis came in and read a letter from a girl who said that she would have taken her own life if there hadn’t been someone at the end of the helpline for her. Everyone in the room was fighting back tears and I remembering feeling close to all of them. We are brought together because we care and, in my opinion, that is a wonderful thing.
RAG is for everyone. Whether you want to help for serious reasons or just want to have fun or a bit of both! RAG is also for guys as well as girls, despite popular misconception. The Executive Committee was a half and half split this year. You too could be part of the hyper-masculine clique who self-identify as the ‘RAGlads’.
RAG is for those who want to go into the corporate sector as well, as those who are interested in charity. It is not our role to make emotion driven appeals for money. We are not the bearers of society’s spare change. We are entrepreneurs, we are creative, we are run like a business, its just that our aim is to help those who are most vulnerable. From Blind Date, to Jailbreak, to Come Dine with Me, these all began at Cambridge RAG and are all products of great, innovative minds.
These events make thousands and have been replicated throughout the UK and even abroad. RAG prepares its members for both the corporate and third sector: we now provide our committee with training in leadership, altruistic careers workshops and inform them of graduate opportunities. RAG looks after its committee like no other!
This year, for the first time, RAG is giving the wider student community the opportunity to vote for the charities that we support. Gone are the days when the committee are faced by 190 charities to choose from a spreadsheet. A shortlist will be created with the help of Giving What We Can, who specialise in evaluating the effectiveness of charities and then you will get to vote. You, the students, are the ones who provide the funds by taking part in our events and so it stands to reason that you should get a say in where that money goes.
When we say RAG is for everyone, we mean everyone!
Applications now open for RAG Committee 2015-16!
Apply if you believe that charity, as well as business, is worthy of the time and passion of clever, committed people.
Apply if you believe that student activities should be about more than sliding your way up a greasy pole, laced with the Brylcream of your predecessors.
Apply if you want to be part of an organisation looks after its committee like no other, that gives back for the time that you put in.
Apply if you believe, like our founders, that it is the duty of students, as much as anyone, to try and find fortitude in the face of trauma.
Cambridge has its problems but it is also a place for the pursuit of noble causes and none nobler, in my opinion, than lending a hand to those most vulnerable members of society.
Oh, and we get Big Fish Ent cards…