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Raising and Giving
[flickr-slideshow tags="ragparade2013" caption="Photos of the RAG Parade which took place in York town centre in February. Credit: Agatha Torrance"]
If you want to get involved in an outgoing, social, lively society at the same time as supporting some very worthy causes, then RAG is for you.
RAG stands for Raising and Giving, and is the charity branch of the student union. You can get involved in by joining the team of amazing volunteers who spearhead each year's fantastically successful variety of events. The highlight of the RAG calendar is the celebrated 'RAG Week' in Spring Term, at which last year a spectacular £10,137.43 was raised due to entertainment events such as 'Mr and Mrs York', the Barn Dance, RAG Parade, 'Blagathon', the 'Willow' Night on Hes East, and the efforts of the RAG teams on individual college committees organising bar crawls, open-mic nights and 24 hour bike rides.
For students on a budget, it is an amazing achievement that previous total yearly fundraising has been over £80,000, so it is unsurprising that elected YUSU RAG Officers Beth Greenwood and Katherine Elliott are particularly excited about the events lined up for this year. If you're wondering what these proceeds go towards, students vote annually for the 'Core Charities' which RAG raises funds for on a permanent basis, which have in recent years included Macmillan Cancer Support, Shelter, Minds for Health, Survive, Candle Lighting and YUSU Volunteering projects. Throughout the academic year RAG volunteers' fundraising efforts also support one-off causes such as street collections, places on the London Marathon and one-off appeals such as in aid of Haiti relief or Red Nose Day.
If there are any other particular causes which you are passionate about supporting, there are application forms on the YUSU RAG page for charity nominations. 10% of the money raised by RAG every year will go into the 'community pot' so that local as well as national communities will benefit from RAG activities. Getting involved in RAG really does make a huge difference - as well as it being a great way to meet new people.
At some point at your time at York it is very likely that you will get involved in the YUSU Volunteering projects. Many of the events and festivals hosted in York each year such as the 'Festival of Lights' have student opportunities to work with schools, marketing, finance, media, conservation, and disadvantaged members of the community. Volunteering is a valuable way to try out something relating to your potential career, at the same time as having a hands-on approach to genuinely benefiting the people in your new community. The popular projects which run on a regular basis ensure that with YUSU Volunteering you can get involved in a diverse variety of social and environmental causes such as 'Kids Camp', 'Sexpression', 'Tea and Coffee club', 'EcoVolunteers', and 'York Students in Schools'.