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Charlotte Baker has published 6 articles

RAG's charity selection process changes

Following an OUSU motion, the charities supported by RAG will now be voted on by the whole student body
Charlotte Baker on Wednesday 25th January 2012
Photograph: Beth McKernan

OUSU voted this week to further extend radical reforms to the way that the RAG charities are decided.

Any member of the student body will now be able to nominate a charity and that it will be put to a public vote, using the electronic My-Vote system, which is already used for OUSU elections.

Previously, charities were nominated by the OUSU VP Charities and Communities, along with a committee of other parties, and were then put to a vote at a meeting. The new system is an extension of a trial that was run in Trinity Term, where just 4% of the student population voted.

Daniel Stone, OUSU VP Charities and Communities is not deterred by this and maintains that it is a positive move forward. He told Cherwell, “Last term the student body helped us to raise around £25k for charity by throwing themselves off an 180ft crane, dressing to impress for the RAG Ball and partying in one of our club nights. Given that we rely so much on students getting behind our events it is only fair that they have the easiest possible opportunity to have their say.”

He added that the news scheme “will ultimately raise the profile of charitable activity in the University.”

The student reaction to the move has been mixed. Whilst many are enthusiastic about the chance to get involved, others just see this as another OUSU poll that doesn’t affect them.

Helena Horsburgh, a second year Modern Languages student said: ‘I think it’s a really good idea for students to have the chance to nominate and vote for charities.’

Ben Thomas, a first year Engineering student, agrees: ‘I think this will give people the opportunity to put forward smaller, less popular charities, who might be just as deserving of RAG support as larger organisations.’

The RAG, Oxford University’s charitable giving organisation, donates around £120,000 a year to charity, through events and a variety of other student-led initiatives. Traditionally the money is split between four charities, of which one has to be student-run, one Oxford-based, one national and one international.

Nominations are open until 12pm on Thursday of 4th week and forms are available online.