Making a meaningful impact and fun meet at UP’s RAG of Hope Day as students showcase their talents

Posted on March 01, 2023

The University of Pretoria’s (UP) Reach out and Give (RAG) student organisation recently hosted a RAG of Hope Day at the University’s Hillcrest Campus to raise funds and collect donations that will go to the various community engagement projects run by the University.

UP RAG is a student-driven non-profit fundraising and community service organisation dedicated to getting students involved in projects that make a difference in society. “RAG of Hope is an extraordinary feature of student life at UP,” said Professor Themba Mosia, Vice-Principal: Student Life at UP.

“We are truly proud of the contributions made by students and the donations from the community. Through RAG of Hope we are able to make an impact in society, which is something that anchors us as an institution and as a society, so we remember that we coexist with others.”

Rafeea Mangera, University of Pretoria RAG Vice-Chairperson and Events, wears a navy blue turban, tie and blazer with a white shirt

Rafeea Mangera, UP RAG Vice-Chairperson and Events

Rafeea Mangera, UP RAG Vice-Chairperson and Events, said that the event was the second RAG of Hope day since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, but what made this one standout was the turnout. “The turnout is amazing this time around. People are more relaxed and interacting with one another freely without being restricted. There are also more students back on campus who showed up for the event.”

Students from various residences, faculties and day houses attended the fun-filled event and participated in various activities. Attendees honoured the ‘Coachella’ theme and showed up in colourful outfits, make-up and hair. The event was open to the public and welcomed donations such as canned food, sanitary items and money, which will go towards helping those in need.

Making an impact both locally and globally is one of the University’s goals and is part of THE UP WAY of life. Through a range of community engagement activities, the University’s students are taught about the significance of making a positive difference and using their unique skills to find solutions to society’s problems.

During the event, students participated in a talent show, ‘UP Got Talent’, where they showcased their different talents, from singing to dancing, poetry and many others. There were also several stalls where students sold products that they made, which displayed their creativity and innovative skills.

A stall at the University of Pretoria RAG's RAG of Hope Day

Carto Abrams-Swarts, Community Engagement officer: Department of Business Management (left) and Professor Sonali Das, Associate Professor at UP’s Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences, both judges at the event, viewing plants for sale at a House Nala and College residences stall.

Carto Abrams-Swarts, Community Engagement officer: Department of Business Management, who was a judge at the event, explained that giving is not just for those who receive but it is also for one’s own happiness. “Donating to a good cause is a great way to make yourself feel better. Knowing that you are making a difference in other people's lives is also an empowering feeling that can make you happier and more content,” she said.

The event also provides students with the opportunity to socialise and share their individual campus experiences. They expressed how excited they were to be at the event and most of them said that it was their first time attending RAG.

Final-year student Ofentse Mabena said: “I am having so much fun. I am enjoying visiting the different stalls, the music, the food and all the performances on stage.” The event was a first for Mabena who said she was glad to end her varsity years having experienced RAG.

A stall at the University of Pretoria RAG RAG of Hope Day

Recycling was a big theme and students showed their creativity with this stall selling wares including funky coasters made from plastic bottle lids.

“I am impressed by all the talent our students are showcasing on the stage. It is such a vibe here and everybody is having a good time,” said Aphiwe Shange, UP RAG: Marketing Media and Communication.

“It is exciting to see the full splendour of enthusiasm. It is my first time, and I am also enjoying judging the stalls,” said Professor Sonali Das, Associate Professor at UP’s Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences. However, Prof Das believes that room for improvement can be made by involving academic and professional staff as mentors to guide the students through the process of building innovative products and creating business plans. “I think that each stall could benefit from having a mentor… taking this approach will create a more holistic partnership,” she said.

Mangera, UP RAG Vice-Chairperson and Events, said the non-perishable food items collected go to the University of Pretoria Student Nutrition and Progress Programme, SNAPP.

“The sanitary items and funds raised then go to our other community engagement initiatives that we do throughout the year, such as going to schools,” said Mangera.

- Author Prudance Minyuku

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