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MathSoc for mental health: why we chose Mind

Sunday, 18 June 2017 Lucy

Lucy is an undergraduate mathematics student and the volunteering officer for the University of Birmingham Mathematics Society. She writes about working together with her university Maths Society to fundraise for Mind.

A lot of students at our university experience mental health problems - Maths as a course is very demanding, so a lot of us struggle at some point. As a committee we've pretty much all had close friends experience mental health problems and wanted to raise awareness within our department and university. That’s why we chose to fundraise for Mind this year.

Our fundraising revolved around the idea of a ‘FUNDRAISING FEBRUARY’, where every week we did a different activity to raise money and awareness for Mind.

"We chose Mind because mental health support is such an important and relevant cause to university students."

In weeks one and two we took to the streets of Harborne with our collection buckets, first in costume and then again with our Mind t-shirts. The weather was somewhat miserable throughout, but the guys stayed positive.

The following week we hosted a Bake Sale, which ended up being- well, a piece of cake! Offering cakes to students while they were needing a treat in between lectures definitely seemed to pay off.

The Big MathSoc Charity Quiz was the perfect way to celebrate our final month of hard work and success. It was a great atmosphere and the pub was full of people battling to win the £100 worth of Frankie and Benny’s vouchers up for grabs, as well as a raffle with some great prizes from local businesses.

The pub quiz included a mental health round (with questions made from facts found from the Mind website). The inclusion of this round seemed to raise awareness as a lot of people were shocked by the answers and statistics to some of the questions.

"The mental health quiz round seemed to raise awareness as a lot of people were shocked by the answers and statistics to some of the questions."

In total, Mathsoc raised over £1000 for Mind in Fundraising February, and a further £250 in a ‘University Challenge’ event which was kindly matched by Santander, bringing our total so far to £1500. Twenty of our University of Birmingham Maths students (including me!) also ran the Coventry Half Marathon in aid of Mind in March. This was a huge personal challenge for me - before agreeing to do it I could run for about five minutes without having to have a walking break! After a LOT of training I finished the race, and we raised 132% of our target - £1726.66!

There were several points in February where I was stressed - I worried about how our fundraising events would go, whether we’d have enough cakes to sell, or if anyone would come to the pub quiz. This came at the same time as a lot of deadlines for my third year project, tests and coursework and I found it very difficult to balance. Not to mention having to take hours out of my day training for the half marathon! I’m so lucky to have had an amazing team of very helpful volunteers during this time, who took over organising the pub quiz (I definitely wouldn’t have had time to do that!)

"It has been challenging, but ultimately it’s so rewarding to know the money we’ve raised will make a difference to those suffering with mental health problems."

With our sponsorship for the Coventry Half marathon and our term time fundraising, in total we raised an amazing £3227.33.

I have really enjoyed fundraising for Mind this year. It has sometimes been challenging to balance the organising with my studies but ultimately it’s so rewarding to know the difference the money we’ve raised can make to those suffering from mental health problems. I also think the awareness we raised within the student community is really important and I hope our fundraising has helped spread the word about mental health and the fantastic work that Mind do.

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