By Aoife Mullen
DCU Students’ Union achieved its goal of raising €10,000 for charity during Raise and Give (RAG) Week.
The SU did not disclose the exact figure raised, but President Ed Leamy told last Wednesday’s Class Representative Council (CRC) meeting that the week can be seen as a success.
“In general, if the good points hit national airwaves then it can only be seen as a good thing, no negative press, but good positive publicity making the week a success,” he said.
RAG Week ran from Monday February 20th to Thursday February 23rd. Events were organised by both the SU and the RAG Society.
Welfare officer Collie Oliver told The College View: “There was a day and evening event on every day, Monday to Thursday, with a DJ every day in the bar. There was a mix of both alcoholic and non-alcoholic events to suit all, with comedy nights and two organised nights out, including the RAG ball on Tuesday.”
RAG Soc ran ‘The RAG Challenge’, a set of four challenges for the week for DCU students to take part in to raise money. Monday challenged students to keep their red RAG balloons safe for the day, while Tuesday saw students handcuffed together for eight hours.
Chairperson of RAG Soc Rónán Ó’ Dalaigh told The College View that the society raised a total of €2,476.52, “with the majority coming from the hand-cuff challenge”.
Both the SU and RAG Soc agreed that the recession didn’t prevent students from being charitable.
“I don’t think that the recession had much of an impact. In general, Irish people give generously to social projects, even when they are struggling themselves, they tend to still enjoy giving time and money, which is great,” said Ó’ Dalaigh.
Oliver felt that “although we have a recession, I think this year students still donated generously”.
Ó’ Dalaigh added: “Obviously we have smaller student numbers than other universities which is one of the main reasons we find it more difficult to raise huge amounts, however, I do think that more students should get involved in college life.”
On the Wednesday, DCU’s St Vincent de Paul (SVP) society staged a 24 hour sleep-out, raising €1361.14. DCU SVP secretary Aisling Kett and PRO Claire Healy told The College View they will be giving half of the money they raised to RAG Soc because they helped promote the sleep-out and let them stage it during RAG Week.
DCU SVP only received permission to hold the sleep-out opposite the Henry Grattan building on Monday, which meant they had limited time to promote the event.
However, SVP were delighted with the support they received from both the student and academic bodies in DCU. They also praised the restaurant, which brought them cardboard, food supplies and tea and coffee.
SVP told The College View that “people were shockingly generous” and they were “surprised at some people, particularly students. Loads of people came over and donated money and food” which will be used for their weekly soup run, which happens every Tuesday at 7pm.
Some students in DCU were critical of how RAG Week was promoted. SVP felt students were not fully aware of and informed about RAG Week, arguing that “it was hard to understand the difference between RAG events and SU events and not everyone knew about it”.
Ó’ Dalaigh agreed with SVP, suggesting that “a lot of students didn’t know the week was on but it’s the same with almost every week”.
He told The College View that both the SU and RAG Soc were involved in promoting the week. “The SU were heavily involved in promoting RAG Week and I think that they did a great job. We ran separate events and while we were very supportive of each other we did kind of stick to promoting our own events.
“Hopefully in the future we will have a more co-operative approach. The original plan was to run a huge event in conjunction with each other but due to time constraints it wasn’t possible, we are planning it for the end of the semester though.”
Reflecting on how the events were publicised, he continued: “I think some RAG Week events were publicised very well and others were not. For example the free Barry Sinclair gig was excellent but the Venue was practically empty, which is quite disappointing for such a top class entertainer.
“Overall I think more could have been done by our own committee and the SU to promote the week but we’ll learn from it and continue to improve DCU’s RAG Week.”
However, Collie Oliver told The College View that the week’s events enjoyed heavy online promotion “in all student emails, on Facebook and in an extensive poster campaign”.
As chairperson of RAG Soc, Rónán Ó’ Dalaigh appeared on RTÉ Radio 1 to promote the week’s events and was commended at the CRC meeting for the good work done by RAG Soc.
At the CRC meeting, Oliver said the executive had debated why the week was calmer than RAG Week in other colleges. They decided it was because DCU focused on the charity, which is the real meaning of RAG Week, and they felt in hindsight that this emphasis was the correct one.
The relaxed nature of DCU’s RAG week led to some students suggesting it didn’t feel like a typical RAG Week. Ó’ Dalaigh thinks this is because “there was no major drinking or damage done to anything, which is sadly what RAG Week is portrayed as in the media.”
“DCU is different to other universities. Even though we’re younger, I think we’re more mature. I’m delighted with the way RAG Week went. It’s something that we want to build on and improve and without a doubt we have laid the foundation this year. Hopefully next year we’ll raise even more money, get more students involved in fun events and continue to show our maturity as a student body,” he said.