Ciara Ferguson tells us all we need to know about RAG week and how a little kindness goes a long way, without turning into a drinking binge.
We have all heard of the term “Rag week” or “Charity week”, but what does it really mean? Where does it come from?
 
The tradition originated in the University of Pretoria in South Africa in 1925 and is still celebrated there today. During the week, students take to the streets in a parade of floats and collect money for charity. The week is known in Africa as “JOOL”, translating to: "your selfless sacrifice for charity".
 
It is possible the term “rag” came from the Victorian era, when students collected rags from clothing the poor, but in recent years, other meanings have been invented for the word, including "Raise and Give", "Raise A Grand" or "Raising and Giving".
 
Universities all around the country organize different fundraising activities and events and all the money goes to charity.
 
For example, this year in the University of Limerick, we donated to:
 
• Clíona’s Foundation- a charitable organization founded in 2007 to provide financial assistance to families in Ireland who have children undergoing long-term medical treatment for critical illnesses.
 
• Focus Ireland- which helps prevent people from experiencing homelessness, where possible. For those who are already homeless, they identify the best available supports and options to aid them on their journey out of homelessness.
 
• Mid-West Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus- provides services, support, advocacy, advice and information to members (from birth through adulthood), and to their parents and carers and to expand and upgrade services for people living with Spina Bifida and /or Hydrocephalus.
 
• St. Gabriel’s School & Centre- provides education and a range of essential health-related therapies and interventions for children and young adults living with multiple physical disabilities, sensory and /or developmental delay or more serious life-limiting conditions.
 
ULSU have posted: “the week turned out to be a huge success, with a whole lot of money being raised for charity and students creating a lot of memories.”
 
In 2015, €30,000 was raised for 4 different charities so hopefully this year we matched or even beat that figure.
 
So although it was a great week for the session and we made lots of memories (or not enough as you were too polluted to remember them), it was all for a good cause!