Red Cup Company tell us about their plans to raise £2k for Syrian refugees

‘I think the country could do more, not just Royal Holloway’


Third year Politics, Philosophy and Economics student Tristan Johnson is the founder of Royal Holloway’s favourite social enterprise, Red Cup Company. With an event planned this weekend at Monkeys, we sat down to ask him a CUPle of questions about Red Cup’s plans to help Syrian refugees.

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Tristan (sitting centre) with last year’s committee and members

So you came up with the concept for Red Cup Company in first year?

Yes I did, I enrolled myself in the RH Enterprise Academy run by Jack Smale and Callum Porter-Harris and the whole thing took off from there.

How did it get started? What spurred it?

Well most of our events revolve around student music, I bumped into a couple of guys (Jean Bz and Jack Green) who held band practice in their kitchen and thought their French rap and funky blues should have a much bigger audience than just me.

After discussing a few ideas on how a live music night with only students performing might work, Matt, Luca and I drew up the first line-up for Red Cup Thursday.

Do you get a lot of people asking to perform?

All the time. Sometimes it’s just the odd guy who can just about play Wonderwall, but most of the time we get some amazingly talented people like Jericho and Leon Jacques come through and really make a name for themselves. We are always looking for musicians, so if you’re interested or want more information please contact Seben Gole.

The first ever Red Cup Thursday

The first ever Red Cup Thursday

What was the first event you hosted?

Red Cup Thursday. We had five bands, lots of shisha and Mysterious Girl playing full blast in the beer garden.

What’s the best thing about setting up Red Cup Company?

The Nabadisha school for Orphans and street children in Calcutta sent our team an email last week. It turns out our latest transfer paid for one month of education for all 90 pupils. Considering all our members are still students, it was humbling to see we helped provide an education for other students on the other side of the world.

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Students from the Nabadisha school in Calcutta sent RCC this picture to say thank you for their invaluable work

What has been your favourite Red Cup event?

In terms of music and amount raised for charity, definitely Under The Sea. We parked a VW campervan outside with a photobooth, Room 6 played an amazing set upstairs, and DJ’s Alex Taylor and CJ Porter-Thaw were so good a lot people asked if they were externally hired.

Can you do the cup song?

Is it bad I don’t know what that is?

We’ll forgive you since you, you know, you sent 90 students to school…

What’s your favourite cupcake flavour?

Chocolate chip of course.

How does your new membership work?

£3 for one years membership, or £15 for a personalised RCC Crew shirt and 3 years membership.

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Want to look like these girls? Join RCC

Will Red Cup Company continue once you’ve graduated?
Hopefully, we’ve had a great intake of new 1st and 2nd year committee members who are really passionate to continue what we’ve achieved.

How does it feel to be the entrepreneurial genius on campus?

Well it’s not me, so I wouldn’t know!

Let’s play ‘Good Cup, Bad Cup’… tell me which you’d be in these situations.

The queue at the SU bar is ridiculous. Good Cup – wait it out, you need a real drink, or Bad Cup – go to the VK bar and grow yourself a VK claw.

Bad Cup – VK claw.

One of the Vice Presidents of Red Cup Company is wasted, has stripped down to their underwear at one of the events and they’re dancing really hard to the cha cha slide. Good Cup – escort them out and give them a bollocking. Bad Cup – join in.

I wouldn’t put it past either of them to be honest, and we try not to kick anyone out of our events so I think I’ll be joining them. Bad Cup!

Someone’s spreading a nasty rumour on campus that Red Cup Company’s events are shit – Spotted even posts it on their page. Good Cup – tell the team it’s okay, you’ll all make sure the next event is the best yet. Bad Cup – make a bad ass strategy to take this person down and hope you can zap them in Humans vs Zombies.

Well everyone has their opinion, but definitely Bad Cup.

Finally, tell us about your event on the 26th, Freshers Welcome. Love the title by the way!

It’s original right? This is our debut event of the year. We’re aiming to raise £2000 in aid of the refugees of the Syrian conflict over the next three events. Our fundraising target for the year is £10,000.

Why and when did you choose to raise money for Syrian refugees?

We decided after following the press coverage of the less-than-admirable Hungarian response. Our Vice President also spent her summer in Turkey and witnessed first-hand what refugees have been going through.

Do you think the uni should be doing more for refugees?

Quite a few clubs and societies are doing what they can. Riding are organising a clothes drive, and BioSoc have been very active in getting other societies to get involved. I think the country as a whole could do more, not just Royal Holloway.