R&G Week 2017 is well and truly on the horizon. It is an event-packed week, and one of the most anticipated weeks on social calendar for the college year. Let us not forget however – it is also about charity. The idea of Raise and Give week started as something that is about giving, a week that should be of benefit to the greater society. With the amount of money raised each year it certainly succeeds; however, recently something organised only for good has been tinged with a bad reputation as a result of the excessive alcohol consumption and poor behaviour.
At some point, from when RAG week first originated on Irish University campuses, to how it is viewed now, the focus of RAG week to that of the average student has shifted dramatically. A week designed to raise money for various charities has become the most anticipated social week of the year in which alcohol consumption by (on average) 18-24-year-old sky rockets, hangovers are commonplace and lectures are seldom attended.
Much negativity was brought to light during UCC’s 2016’s RAG week in which Labour Minister Kathleen Lynch took a stance in solidarity with the residents surrounding UCC and what she called “antisocial behaviour,” stressing the issue of noise disruptions, littering and, in some cases, vandalism to local properties. It is a nationwide issue in Universities, as demonstrated by the ban on Galway’s RAG week by both NUIG and GMIT in 2011, which NUIG’s Students’ Union credited to “the antics of a minority of young people.” Despite objections from students, the university maintains the ban, and instead offers concessions to students, including free use of the on-campus healthcare facilities for students, and an increased contribution to the student assistance fund.
Banning RAG week – a week designed to raise money for those in need, is such a drastic measure, yet it is also easy to see why this has been the case in Galway. However, an unofficial RAG week still takes place each year (the Students Union have stressed they are not affiliated with it) so the week of madness continues, except now there is no fundraising for charity. It would not only be detrimental to the charities involved, but also to the UCC student body, if such action were to be taken in UCC. RAG week is a week that we as students all anticipate and enjoy; we should do so, keeping in mind that the week is essentially about charity and the greater good, and we shouldn’t tarnish that view by reflecting a bad image on ourselves.