International Engineering Ambassadors
Insight into the life & course of international students.

Monday, 20 June 2016

RAG (RAISING AND GIVING)

By Haider Ali Janjua


About RAG:
Sheffield RAG formed in 1920 is a student led working committee at the Sheffield University’s Student Union. The committee organises several fundraising events throughout the academic year.  The aim of the events is to fund-raise as much as possible while having fun doing so. The participants not only take part in some amazing activities but get to help some wonderful local charities as well.  In order to participate in an event, you are required to buy a ticket and raise a particular amount for the event. You can choose to fund-raise for the chosen charity or the charity of your choice. There are two staff members who help the students organise the event, a community fundraiser and the RAG Intern.



Fundraising:
Students are generally quite scared of fundraising. They think they won’t be able to raise the required amount especially the international students as they can’t rely on their families to support them. Having taken part in different RAG events during the last 3 years, I can tell you that this isn’t as hard as it sounds. RAG team helps a lot in fundraising.  And if you spend a little time and effort, you can easily manage to raise the required amount. 
Here are a few ways you can fund-raise the money:
  • Don’t be afraid to ask people for help as you are raising money for charity. Explain what you are doing, what the event is about and that their money wouldn’t be used to cover your event expenses. You would be surprised that people are quite generous and you would get help from people that you never anticipated.
  • Promote your fundraising page as much as possible. Social media can be a huge help. Pin the status regarding this on your Facebook profile, tweet about your event or even send messages to people you know.
  • Cook up a storm! Even if you are not a good cook, you can buy some cupcakes, decorate them and sell them at the student union concourse. For this though, you have to go to the RAG office and book a spot for your stall. Or if your friend is a good cook, join forces with them and fund-raise together. One of my friends raised money in 4 days by joining forces and cooking some delicious ‘kheer’ (a Pakistani/Indian dessert) and selling to their professors. Another idea is to hold a fundraising dinner and invite your friends to it.
  • Use your strengths. If you are good at something, use it to get money. If you are a good photographer, you can organise a fundraising photo shoot. I used my Graphic Design skills to make posters for the fashion society’s event. The added advantage of this was that I was able to practice my skills. You can even write a blog post or an article for that! :D
  • The RAG team organises a few things to help you fund-raise the money. The first one is called RAG Raid. You are given buckets and permits and you can go to the specified area in the city and ask people for money. At first it might feel scary but after a time you get used to it and have a great time. AS this is such a common occurrence, the locals even know about it and can be quite generous. Having a costume is a huge help! The second thing is the Street Team. You are given some glow sticks to sell at the union events. This is a very easy way to fund-raise.


Events:

Most of the events are team events. You can make a team with friends or if you are the only amazing person in your friend group, have no fear as the RAG team organises different socials where you can meet potential teammates. For the events outside UK, help is provided to international students for visa application. Some of the popular RAG events are:

Survival Night: Form a team of friends and test your team work in a series of games and challenges at a secret location. But beware! There might be some zombies or ghosts around to kidnap you!  Each team gets a base to defend. You have to protect your base from other teams while trying to steal stuff from your opponents. Points can be collected by winning different games organised during the night. The team with the most point wins a prize at the end of the night. The first year I volunteered as a Zombie. It was fun trying to catch participants and scaring them. The 2nd year me and my flatmates took part in it and had an amazing time! We even managed to come 4th out of 5 teams!



Spiderwalk: It is a 13 mile hike to the peak district and back. There is food and fireworks at the end point. It was one of my favourite events although the weather was rainy (as customary in UK) but the happiness you get from food and having accomplished something is worthwhile!

Rat Race: This is a joint event with the Bummit society. For this event you have to hitchhike to a certain city in UK while completing different tasks. The team with the most points wins an amazing price. Some of the tasks included running in the peace water fountains, getting your nails painted (only for boys) and selfie with a builder!


I was part of the sub-committee this year. My main task was to design the poster and the bible (Instruction booklet) for the event. Apart from that, there were weekly meetings to discuss and plan different tasks and also help with the marketing of the event by giving flyers at Student Union concourse and door knocking at university accommodations. I came to realise how much hard work is put in order to organise the event and learned organisational, team working, marketing and design skills.

T.H.E (Treasure Hunt Europe): This is a week long inter-railing adventure in which you have to solve clues and riddles to get to the next stop. The participants are divided into teams and the winning team wins a huge prize. This year the event takes place in Italy.

Becoming a part of RAG committee
An AGM is held at the end of the year to select the committee for the next year. This is a good way to learn new skills and make friends. There are many different posts that you can apply for.

If you want to help but haven’t got time, you can become a RAG Rep. Rag Reps choose the events that they want o help at. They can have their own small events such as bake sales/ quiz night or   help at bigger RAG events (e.g. stewarding at Spiderwalk or becoming a zombie at Survival Night).

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