The Tab meets: The president of MWA

The MWA is trying to change the way students think about giving

As the majority of the student body have yet to experience a true May Week, getting involved with MWA may  be for you (see what I did there). The Tab sat down with the current President of MWA, Rahul Shah, and chatted about how it all works and the exciting upcoming events.

MWA stands for May Week Alternative

Starting out as a small group of Cambridge students of around 10 to 15 people four years ago, MWA has now grown to a community of over 400 students. It has also branched off to other Universities such as Oxford, Glasgow, Warwick, Sheffield, and Imperial.

Last year’s lovely comittee! (Image Credits: May Week Alternative)

Rahul told The Tab that their aim is to try to “change the way students think about charity”, a way to “donate deliberately” to make a significant impact. Rahul agreed that it is “quite a difficult philosophy or concept to get your head around” but this is the general premise…

You donate a “significant amount of money to you” through the MWA website, which is then “matched funded for twice the impact.” Then, during May week, there is a summer party that you can attend to celebrate the money raised, the impact you’ve had as well as the end of the academic year.

What is important to note here is that MWA try not to frame it like buying a ticket for their summer party the party is “entirely funded by corporate sponsorship so none of the money raised from the student donations goes towards funding the summer party.” We agreed that the acronym MWA may be slightly misleading in this sense, but nothing us Cambridge students can’t handle.

Smiles all around at the 2021 Sumer Party (Image Credits: May Week Alternative)

That’s a significant amount of wonga…

The suggested donation is £150. Rahul explained that it is supposed to be “a significant amount of money to you.”

“£150 is a lot of money for almost anyone at this university, that means that people really stop and think about what they’re donating. ” This is part of the MWA’s aim of making charity feel more intentional and deliberate. As well as being “an average price of a May Ball ticket,” what is really striking is the possible impact the donation can make. £150, if donated to the MWA’s suggested charity AMF (Against Malaria Foundation) is enough to protect 350 people from malaria.

So where does the money go?

The suggested charity is AMF, which is carefully chosen as students are making such large contributions. MWA wants to ensure the money is doing as much good as possible. AMF, on the advice of independent charity evaluators GiveWell and Giving What We Can, both rank AMF as one of the most effective charities in the world.

Malaria causes 400,000 preventable deaths each year, particularly affecting pregnant women and children below the age of five. But, with a donation of £150, doubled through matched funding, you can help protect 350 people. Last year, MWA raised enough to protect 88,000 people, or 3.6 people for every Cambridge student!

The summer party and other events… 

After that myth busting session with the MWA President, here’s how you can get involved and what you can expect from some upcoming events.

I’d be pretty smiley too if I was making such a significant impact (Image Credits: May Week Alternative)

Before the Summer Party itself, there are other events such as the Launch Party, held on the 6th of February. The ‘Donations Push Launch Party’ will be held at the University Centre, from 6PM till 9PM.  Rahul assures me that there will be free drinks, free food and live music, you can sign up here if you are interested.

There’s set to be waffles from Cambridge BeWaffle, nachos from Nanna Mex, cheesecakes from Heavenly Desserts and free alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks… and that’s just the Launch Party. The Summer Party is set to be just as good.

Similar to a garden party, the summer party will be “an afternoon thing” held on the 17th of June with plenty of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks and lots of food – a fantastic way to celebrate the money raised and the end of exams.

If you want to find out more information about MWA you can check out their swanky wesbite here or have a look at their social media (@mayweekalternative on Instagram and MWA- May Week Alternative on Facebook)

Feature Image Credits: May Week Alternative

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