We’ve all been there – you sign up for thirty different societies at Freshers Fair and then never go to any of their meetings. However, having been crowned Society of The Year at the 2016 Society Awards, Warwick Raising and Giving – better known as Warwick RAG – certainly have the credentials to convince you. We spoke to President of Warwick RAG, Patrick Lavery, to allow him this opportunity.
Features: Sum up Warwick RAG for a Fresher who has never heard of it before.
RAG: We’re the largest society on campus and the best society at Warwick! We offer our members the chance to engage in fundraising through a diverse range of exciting activities such as challenge events, international and domestic volunteering, street collections, one-off charity events and a crazy social calendar.
Features: What was your personal Freshers’ experience like and how did it lead you to Warwick RAG?
RAG: I first heard of RAG when I saw an advert for their Welcome Meetings. I went along and was immediately sold by the amazing range of opportunities to get involved and the friendliness of the exec. Within a few weeks of joining I had been to my first circle, sold sweets to drunk people in exchange for donations, signed up to the trip of a lifetime in Guatemala and been ‘adopted’. Adoptions are hard to explain… it’s easier to just go and find out for yourself!
Features: What’s been the most exciting thing that you have done as part of the society?
RAG: That’s easy: climbing five volcanoes in Guatemala!
Features: What’s the easiest way for a Fresher who might be a bit shy or intimidated to get involved?
RAG: First of all, let me reassure you: there is absolutely no need to be shy! We’re a friendly bunch at RAG and we are always keen to welcome new people. Your best bet is to keep an eye out on our website www.warwickrag.com for our information evenings and come along to those, or turn up at one of our socials; we’ll do our best to come and say hi!
Features: Why do you think you won Society of The Year?
RAG: I think that there is something in RAG for everyone – whether that”s just signing up to climb Mount Kilimanjaro or doing some domestic volunteering, or even just turning up at a social and having a laugh. There’s real diversity in what we do, and it’s up to you how much you want to put into RAG. Whatever you do, you have the chance to make a real difference and achieve something great. Not every society can offer that.
Features: Time to ‘sell’ your society – why is Freshers with RAG better than any other society on campus?
RAG: Aside from our two mega socials, the Freshers Bar Crawl and Adoptions, which have 100+ attendees each, you will have the chance to meet like-minded people and jump straight into the world of fundraising. Within a couple of weeks of Freshers you might have signed up to go to Africa or Thailand, raised hundreds of pounds for Breast Cancer Now in London or done some volunteering involving building with Lego.
Features: Can you offer us any insight into this year’s RAG week yet?
RAG: Yes, it will be in aid of homelessness. We’re hoping to raise awareness about this very serious cause which unfortunately affects a lot of people in Leamington Spa.
Features: What do you think one misconception about your society is?
RAG: Some people think that those signing up to do a challenge – like trekking to Machu Picchu – they are just doing it to have a ‘holiday’. When you have woken up at 4.30am to get the best spot at a tube station, only to spend 12 hours street collecting, gone to great lengths such as dying your hair a crazy colour or held large events to raise money, the chance to go abroad isn’t the main motivation anymore. I have seen people so motivated by the cause that they break down in tears.
Features: What unexpected skills do people involved in RAG develop?
Features: How is this year going to be bigger and better than any previous year?
RAG: We have developed our boldest society programme yet, with a new international volunteering opportunity in Thailand, challenge events ranging from trekking through the Brazilian jungle to running a marathon in Amsterdam and more fundraising opportunities closer to home. We’re making sure that fundraising is accessible to as many people as possible this year, by having a clearer and more consistent marketing strategy, a new website and expanding our local volunteering and fundraising opportunities. We want it to be as easy as possible for people to get involved in RAG.