At Warwick, we have the opportunity to explore the world – whether it’s through societies, study abroad options or volunteering. In this interview with Elizabeth Buhl, President of Warwick RAG, you can see how volunteering and travel go hand in hand…
For those who haven’t heard of RAG before, what is the society about?
RAG is the biggest fundraising society on campus and has over 1000 members! We’re all about having fun while making a difference. We have so much on offer that there is something for everyone, whether you want to do a challenge like climbing a mountain, volunteer or just be social and circle with us. It’s completely free to join us with no societies federation fee needed.
What is/was your role in the society?
I am the sitting President, and before that I was Social Secretary. This has allowed me to meet so many of our members which I absolutely love. I used to organise bar crawls, run circles and more. Now I oversee the exec and all of our challenge leaders – and soon our Fresher Reps! I’m so proud to be leading a group of such dedicated students that all work hard to provide these amazing opportunities for our fellow students to raise money for charity.
What do you feel are the best qualities of the society?
The people for sure. While there are different levels of charitable commitment in our members, everyone who joins wants to do good. So, that means you get to meet a bunch of students who may be very different and that you would never otherwise meet, but at the core we’re all similar and will make great friends. Essentially, you get to raise money for charity while making lasting friendships.
Are there any particular events you think freshers should go to with RAG?
We have a big info meeting and fair on Monday 1stOctober at 7pm that everyone should come to. I will go through everything we have to offer as a society and afterwards you can explore these options at the fair, where all of the Exec will be as well as all the challenge leaders and charity reps. We also have our Freshers Bar Crawl on Friday 28thSeptember in Leamington which is a must – last year we had 150 students join us. You can stay up to date with everything we do on our Facebook page /warwickrag.
What are the different ways we can explore both the UK and abroad through RAG?
Warwick RAG can really put you on the map. Through volunteering you can help out locally like at the spectacular Kenilworth Fireworks on Bonfire Night. We organise bucket collections both locally but we also do megaraids in London like the one coming up for Breast Cancer Now, where you stay overnight in a hostel with your group.
This year we are running Jailbreak which is an awesome event where you have to travel as far away as possible in 36 hours using no money. Students in previous years have made all the way to Scandinavia, the Canary Islands and even Oman. For the keen social members we have an annual mystery tour where we go away to a mystery location in the UK for a weekend of fun.
The majority of our fundraising is through our challenges programme. Every year we send hundreds of students to various locations all over the world. This year we offer eight challenges based both in the UK and internationally where you can: climb Kilimanjaro, trek to Machu Picchu, volunteer in Uganda, trek to Everest Base Camp, run a Marathon in Budapest, cycle from London to Paris, climb the Three Peaks in the UK or try a Skydive.
What have been your best experiences with RAG?
As an international student myself I came to Warwick with little understanding of what societies really were. Joining RAG made me realise how university is about so much more than just your course. I have met so many amazing people and developed a lot as a person. For me the best part is that I get to be so involved in charity while having at least as much, if not more, fun as any other student! I have volunteered in Thailand, put on socials for 100+ people and made friends for life.
Finally, what advice would you give to freshers (or re-freshers) thinking of joining RAG?
Try it! You have nothing to lose by joining us and with everything we have to offer you’re sure to find something that interests you. We are a very friendly and inclusive community. I know coming to university can be very overwhelming, but never be afraid to just come and say hi to us! We were all nervous freshers at one point. If you’re not fond of crowds you are always welcome to pop into our office in the SUHQ or send a message to our facebook page so we can meet somewhere more quiet. For re-freshers it is never too late to join! I myself only got really involved in term 2 when I went (alone!) to a RAG circle – and it was honestly the best thing I’ve done since coming to uni.