Most Unis get involved with all sorts of crazy things in the name of RAG. But what does it actually mean?
The Oxford English Dictionary states that the origin of the word "Rag" is from "An act of ragging; esp. an extensive display of noisy, disorderly conduct, carried on in defiance of authority or discipline", and provides a citation from 1864, noting that the word was known in Oxford before this date. Early Rag collectors may have ragged passers-by until they made a donation.
Another possible explanation comes from the Victorian era when students took time out of their studies to collect rags to clothe the poor.
Much more recently, backronyms have been invented for RAG to stand for "Raise and Give", "Raise A Grand" or "Raising and Giving"; these were, apparently, coined to convince a manager in a large charity of the value of working with student fundraisers.
The bottom line is RAG means doing mad things to raise money for charity and boy have there been some mad things done for RAG.
Here are some examples of the sorts of things students get up to in the name of RAG:
- 'Jailbreaks' - competitions to get as far from the start and back again within a set period of time, without spending any money on transport.
- Sponsored skydives
- Running events including marathons, half marathons and 'Tough Guy' challenges
- Climbing expeditions
- Sponsored hitch-hikes
- Pub Crawls
- International Men's Day parties
- World Record attempts
- Bed-runs racing teams with hospital beds.
- Pub Quizzes
- Duck races
This year RAG week begins on Monday 17 October and once again it's up to the student body and all the societies to get involved. RAG activities can go on throughout the year but RAG week is the focal point for the craziest and zaniest activities.
So whichever society you join, make sure you put in a few hours of time to RAG!