Shining a light on Kent RaG
By Emily Regan Wednesday 21st April 2021
Image courtesy of Kent RaG
Kent Raise and Give, mainly known as Kent RaG, is the official fundraising society at Kent. You may have seen them during freshers fair (when that was in person!) wearing purple t-shirts with their logo front and centre for all to notice. These students spend their year, alongside their studies, raising money for a variety of charities. There are a few ways that this happens, firstly challenges. These can consist of walking Mount. Kilimanjaro, skydiving or running a marathon, each challenge has a different charity attached to it. Next up is events, these are less intense compared to the challenges but are still a fun way to raise money; these activities can include karaoke nights and escape rooms. Thirdly is campaigns, these help to raise awareness for well-known causes, such as Movember raising £873 in 2020, but also charities that are trying to improve the world. October 2020 was environmental month at Kent RaG, supporting the Rainforest Trust UK. Kent RaG has also given the opportunity for students outside of the society to raise money with their bucket fundraiser. Now, they are still a society at the end of the day so they definitely include socials within their calendar, giving members a chance to meet other members and have fun!
I wanted to shine a light on what incredible work Kent RaG has been doing for so many charities. To put into perspective how impactful their work is, 2018/19 saw the total money raised be £238,732.80. I spoke to a few members of the 2020/21 committee to give me some more insight into the running of Kent RaG.
Firstly I spoke to Sam and Emma who have been the events organisers this year. Something I was really intrigued about was how charities are chosen each year. At the start of this academic year they had a document of 120 applications to read through and choose three charities to work with for the year. Afterwards, they send two types of emails, the ‘we would like to work with you’ and the ‘we can’t work with you this year but please try again next year’. It is not easy narrowing it down to three, Emma said “we just wanna help all of them but obviously that’s not possible.”
Like many societies there are the favourite yearly events/socials and Kent RaG is no exception. Taking on the role of events coordinators meant including these iconic events such as, themed quizzes and their winter snowball. Although, they do have the opportunity to create new events. However, the Coronavirus pandemic has stopped some of these staple events with many new and traditional ones having to be adapted to regulations or cancelled altogether.
A big event for the society is Kent RaG week, this normally happens during February and consists of a different event every day for a week. However, this year RaG week was postponed until the 22nd March to 28th March 2021. The events all took place online to follow government guidelines and were to raise money for CATTs (Cancer Awareness for Teens and Twenties) and Women for Women International UK. The week consisted of a baking competition, painting session, cocktail evening, mindfulness session and a three day murder mystery escape room.
With the multitude of events each year I asked Sam and Emma about the event that they might think “wow I actually did that!” An event that stood out to both of them was their first snowball event which took place at Venue. It included a variety of themes, such as Santa’s grotto, bucking Christmas pudding and of course Christmas decorations. It was the first time they had got to experience a large Kent RaG event and understand all the hard work that was involved. Sam and Emma recalled a memory of the 2019/20 events coordinator hand sewing a Santa costume because the old one had gone missing and nowhere was selling one. It sounded like a memorable event for the pair of them.
If you want to get involved with Kent RaG, the events team is a great place to start! You can turn up to their events meetings (this last year has taken place on Tuesday’s at 6pm) have a chat with other members and make some new friends. Then of course be involved with the events and go along to the socials. It’s an easier way to begin your charity work before, if desired, partaking in challenges.
Secondly I spoke to Lauren the challenges coordinator. The process for challenges is a little different compared to events. There are challenge leaders for each challenge and together with Lauren, they hold meetings and recruit people to take part. The challenge coordinator also helps to support any participants right up until they leave for their challenge. The pandemic did cause me to wonder if the abroad challenges would be able to go ahead, however, Kent RaG works with a company called Choose a Challenge which has been dealing with the ever changing regulations, as well as having policies in place which allows students to take on the challenge during 2022 or 2023 instead. Like the events, there are some staple challenges that happen each year, such as the skydive which is to raise money for the charity Mind and is arranged with them. The other challenges are chosen through the options that Choose a Challenge have and the charities that they are partnered with.
Being prepared is key for the challenges, Lauren said “you don’t want to be half way up a mountain and come into all these problems.” There is not a set training list to follow for these challenges but if you are thinking of climbing a mountain, some training is advised. Buying kit in advance in order to break in any shoes is also recommended.
There is a social element to the challenges too! The challenge leaders are keen for everyone to get to know each other and they arrange socials to help you prepare for the challenges, such as going on a hike.
The Three Peaks Challenge was the chosen challenge for Lauren this year, taking part in it in June 2021, providing guideline permits it. They have already raised an amazing £10,000!
Joining Kent RaG is the perfect way to do something great! Raising money for charity can be daunting to know where to start and what charity to pick, but joining Kent RaG helps to begin that journey. If you would like to get involved next academic year make sure to check out their social media accounts:
Instagram - @kent_rag
Facebook – Kent RaG
Website - https://kentrag.org