Last week saw UCDSU host its annual Raise and Give (RAG) week. This year’s week spanned three days, and events included a three-day carnival, and appearances and performances by Mickey Joe Harte, the Waxies, Bluemoose, S Club, and the Hardy Bucks. To attend events, students were to purchase wristbands. The week also featured a Battle of the Bands that was held at the Clubhouse on Tuesday and was free to attend, and a designated UCD night at Coppers on Wednesday. Student reps did bucket collections around campus throughout the week and donation buckets were also in SU shops.
The video used to advertise the event was criticised by some students, though the embarrassing nature of UCD SU President Barry Murphy’s attempt at slam poetry may have helped to spread the video.
The carnival featured two dizzying rides. Free red bull, popcorn, and peperami were given out. It was not widely advertised that wristbands for any day could allow you into all three days of the carnival. The carnival was often opened without wristband checks and without buckets available for giving donations.
The proceeds raised by this year’s RAG week will be divided between Pieta House and the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre (DRCC), the charities were chosen by students. Both organisations tackle pressing issues, which often affect student experiences. Pieta House is a non-profit organisation that provides free of charge therapeutic services to people suffering from suicidal tendencies, people engaging in self-harm, and people suffering from suicide bereavement without a doctor’s referral. There are currently twelve centres around the country with almost 270 fully qualified staff members. The services offered by the DRCC include a confidential 24-hour helpline; counselling and therapy; accompaniment services to victims attending Garda stations, Sexual Assault Treatment Units and courts; and training and education. The DRCC website states that in 2016 they worked with 495 counselling clients and 12,388 helpline contacts, accompanied 262 clients, and trained 1,937 people on a range of topics surrounding the issue of sexual abuse. The DRCC currently provides all UCDSU sabbatical officers with sexual assault disclosure training.
UCD RAG week has a complex and interesting past. RAG week was banned in the 1950s for disciplinary reasons, and was renamed “College Week” in the mid 1960s. Nevertheless, the week continued to bring such feats as the kidnappings of several female UCD students by students of Queen’s University Belfast and reciprocal kidnappings by UCD students of Queen’s students. The kidnappings were conducted in a friendly manner and no one was harmed in the process. RAG week history also includes such monumental tales as “the Moon” of 1969, when students broke into the RTÉ studios in Montrose, reportedly disguising themselves as building workmen, and stole a 9-foot tall replica Moon.