Once again, RAG weeks in Sligo, Cork and Galway have reignited the age old question: Are students the pillars of the economy or a drain on it?

Signs were put up around Cork city all last week, warning students that Rag week is not welcome in the area, and to take their business elsewhere. While there have been some instances of unsavoury behaviour during Rag week, here are plenty of reasons as to why it should be welcomed in areas all over Ireland, along with students.

Charity!

Yes, charity! People seem to forget that rag week stands for “raise and give.” Last year alone, UCC students raised €40,000 for chosen charities, in just one week. That’s 19,000 full and part time students coming together, taking time out from stressful college work and part time jobs, dedicating their time to raise money for good causes, with no personal gain. (CV filler does not count as a gain.)

Local profit

Off licenses, take out places and all munchie/alcohol suppliers make an absolute killing from rag week. Coming from someone living in an apartment of four students, who emptied three black bins bags of empty cans and bottles; anyone who sells alcohol benefits from rag week, and students. That’s just during rag week. Local pubs and nightclubs also thrive on the student body – it’s the majority of their demographic.  I can’t imagine the Savoy or Lockdown doing well in an area full of OAPs.

Student housing

Anyone who has ever lived in a student flat or house will tell you the same thing: they suck. There is no way you could put a family of four into an apartment that was previously occupied by four students, and classed as student accommodation. It just wouldn’t be possible. Students pay a lot of money for substandard housing, with little complaint. To renovate a complex of student flats so that you could move in families with kids, it would cost millions.

One doesn’t speak for all

Okay, so some students take it too far. We all know someone who has drank too much and puked in a taxi or punched his way through a wall. That doesn’t mean the whole student population as a whole is a total write off. You can’t paint every student ever with the same brush as the extreme few.

Neknominations vs raknominations

We’re all well aware of the phase a few weeks ago of neknominations: downing stupid amounts of alcohol, then daring someone to outdo you. Well, students decided they have had enough of this and replaced it with raknominations (random act of kindness), ie doing something nice for someone, videoing it and challenging your friends to do the same.

Young people have a more optimistic, hopeful outlook on life, and so our presence should be not only tolerated, but welcomed, in communities.  We all share this planet, folks!