So, another RAG week has passed, the figures are in, and once again York has raised an embarrassingly low sum. Surely I am not alone in feeling that we can do better than this? Year after year similar sized universities like Exeter and Bath double our figures and Durham repeatedly raise over ten times our amount in their RAG equivalents. So how on earth is it that we manage to raise so little?
Well, we hear that YUSU have ended up with 50% of the profit from the supposed ‘RAG Viking Raid’. I don’t know how YUSU attempts to justify this move, but I don’t think I was the only one under the illusion that the Viking Raid is a charity event. Whether in amicable agreement with RAG or not, it is completely against the spirit of the week that YUSU should gain financially from the Raid and this is clearly one of the reasons our final figures are so poor.
As a fresher, I had heard fabulous stories of the annual RAG Parade. Stories of “everyone taking to the streets shaking buckets and waving banners in extravagant college themed fancy dress”.
Everyone? Hardly. When I rolled into our JCR at the unearthly hour of 9am, a handful of organisers were sat faithfully preparing costumes. They were later joined by the rest of the JCRC nucleus and a couple of friends. A few more Freshers joined us later, but still, a grand total of 65 people from the whole of one college doesn’t exactly scream participation does it?
We’ve seen it in the turnouts for recent YUSU referenda and we’ve seen it in how few people bother to vote in the JCRC elections. The biggest problem university activity has to face is that of appalling student apathy. Bring in the added hassle of asking people to part with a few quid and here we have it. It is not the logistics of organising events, nor the ordering of copious supplies of RAG stamped underwear that cause RAG representatives problems, but simply getting people to want to get involved.
Ok, so we have established that the ‘Giving’ part of the RAG title is, for us tight students, the hardest to do. So, a change of tactic is needed I feel, one with more of an emphasis on ‘Raising’. It is obvious that if we are only going to involve the general public on one day of fundraising and still expect to raise respectable amounts of money then we are bound to fail. Surely much more interaction with the (evidently more generous!) public is needed if we are ever going to come anywhere close to rivalling Durham’s figures.
We can’t deny the amount of effort that all the RAG representatives put into their events, which was none other than bloody impressive. It just remains such a shame that their enthusiasm doesn’t rub off on the rest of us.