My name is Zehra Khan and I am a third year Sociology student at City, University of London.
I am also the RAG (Raising and Giving) Officer of City’s Students’ Union. As part of this role I organised and ran RAG week from Monday 28th November – Friday 2nd December 2016, during which we ran fundraising activities which allowed us to engage with students and raise money for charitable causes.
I first became aware of Mind as a charity when searching through our University charity database and decided to choose it as the charity that RAG would fundraising for, due to mental health awareness being such a prevalent issue among university students.
Mental health is a common problem that many students face due to the stresses of personal as well as academic life, but many also do not have the courage to speak about their problems.
Many students are not aware if they are suffering and if they are, they aren't sure where to seek help.
That is why we at City felt that Mind was such an important charity to promote on campus and fundraise for.
We want to increase awareness among university students that there are places to seek help, but also raise money for this cause and help those of all ages who seek support from Mind.
The RAG committee and I planned a week of events with the help of societies at the university.
The law society and psychology society held bake sales (the latter was smurf-themed!) The computer and games society hosted a FIFA tournament, and at the dance society's annual Christmas party members performed many dances ranging in style, from salsa to Bollywood! This was followed by a pub crawl.
All of these were incredible events which attracted lots of students and really helped with fundraising for Mind.
However for me, the highlight of the week was the mountaineering society’s sponsored event. Members of the society climbed a staircase from the ground floor all the way to the top of one of City’s buildings around 30 times, the equivalent of 8,848m (the height of Mount Everest!)
We chose to fundraise in this way as we believed that having a variety of different events during the week would help to raise students' awareness of the events, as well as the cause.
With so many events taking place, the students could pick and choose to go to whichever events appealed to them the most.
There were also many different ways in which we collected donations. As well as selling cakes, we had collection buckets at different locations across the university campus, and at the dance society event we raised money "busker style". The mountaineering society organised online sponsorship to help fundraise. Altogether, this meant that even more money was collected in aid of Mind.
Overall we managed to raise over £1,000 for Mind, reaching our goal of £1,000!
At City Students’ Union, we are all extremely grateful to the societies that helped us to reach this goal, the RAG committee members that helped with bucket collections and volunteering at events, the students and staff that attended events and donated during the week, as well as Mind for their support prior to and during RAG week.
We hope to have achieved our goal of increasing mental health awareness among students at City University. We also hope the money raised will benefit those seeking help from Mind.