Marketing Officer, Luke Hardcastle, reflects on his first year with RAG and the experiences it has offered him
It can be pretty daunting deciding what societies to join at the start of first year. Fortunately RAG has so much to offer and are always looking to welcome new people into the RAG family that I’m sure we have something for you! To show just how much we have on offer, check out my account of my first year with RAG.
The first thing I did with RAG was to try out some volunteering with a charity called Fairy Bricks who provide LEGO sets to kids in hospital. I was helping out at an event called BRICK LIVE in Birmingham. We got free entry into the event and spent the weekend helping the public to build a giant LEGO mosaic. It's something I would have never imagined myself doing before I came to university, but despite battling raging hangovers on both days it was an incredibly satisfying experience. The guys who run the charity were incredible and it felt great to be raising money for this awesome cause. I’m definitely going to be volunteering with them again this year. I was also able to get free entry to the massive Kenilworth fireworks by volunteering in term 1 and rounded of the term by volunteering for RAG week.
Over the week I volunteered at evening events, manned stalls across campus, staggered through Leamington tied to my flatmate on a massive bar crawl and helped raise a tonne of cash for the mental health charity MIND. My personal highlight was the charity circle on the Wednesday. You’ll find out about circling soon enough I’m sure, but as well as all the usual stuff charity circle involved people putting themselves forward to take on dares for a large enough donation. These included chest waxing, stripteases and getting pied in the face with shaving cream pies. I finished of my volunteering for the year working with Action Aid at Latitude festival over the summer. It was awesome to get free entry into the festival (a recurring theme when you volunteer) and to get people to engage with the charity by “riding the crimson wave”, we only had to volunteer for 4 hours each day and only during the day so we got to check out everything the festival had to offer.
So I’d joined RAG and done some volunteering, but I still needed to be adopted. Adoptions was the first big social after Freshers and it was crazy. With about 100 students dressed up for Halloween and put into four teams (mine was vampires) we charged between drinking stations around campus before heading into POP! I don’t remember much, but know I did a wheelbarrow pint at one point and had a one of my best nights of term 1. In fact RAG socials never failed to be incredible. From bar crawls through Leamington to circles before POP! and in the infamous Kelsey’s and of course Charity Ball, RAG provides the best social life you will find at Warwick. It’s also a great chance to meet people from other years and halls. And then of course there was tour. A weekend away in a mystery city (it turned out to be Newcastle) with 40 students this weekend was absolutely incredible! Though I don’t think my liver has recovered yet...
Of course I couldn’t join RAG without completing a charity challenge, so in January I signed up to take on the 3 peaks challenge. With a modest fundraising target of £600 the challenge was to climb the highest peaks in England, Scotland and Wales in under 24 hours. But before I could do it I had to focus on raising money for the awesome Meningitis Research Foundation. To do this I went on bucket-collections across the Midlands, shared what I was doing over facebook and ran my very own event; The Donation Games! This involved letting anyone dare to do something in return for a donation. I ended up eating a whole lettuce in under 10 minutes, jumping into a freezing lake and downing tabasco sauce! The challenge itself was much tougher than I thought it would be, I only got two hours sleep the night before and was not ready for the speed at which we started climbing Ben Nevis. Throughout the challenge the views were unbelievable and the company was great and although we got rained off of Snowdon, it was an incredibly satisfying experience.
The last highlight of my year was London Loot, a bucket-collection over easter. With students from all over the country and a massive Warwick contingent we hit up the streets of London to raise a tonne of cash for the Meningitis Research Foundation. On the second day I was collecting in Bank underground station and raised over £960. Over two days I raised over £1100. Warwick proved ourselves as one of the best RAGs around out-raising every other university there by a mile.
So I had a pretty crazy year with RAG. They’ve provided me with so many memories and have given me access to so many awesome experiences that I would recommend that anyone starting at Warwick sign up and check out all we have to offer you!