By Grainne Graham, News Reporter
The coming week brings together two of the most anticipated events of the year – Valentine’s Day and ‘Rag and Shag Week’. This year, both events will be taking place across the same week as a result of the SU and RAG amalgamating the two. While couples worldwide celebrate the festivities, Queen’s Student Union have organised a fun, educational week filled with all things sexy – from sex education, to raunchy games and quizzes. Not just including condoms, Queen’s have you covered!
RAG is a student-run organisation founded to raise money for charitable organisations. Paul Loughran, SU VP Student Activities described RAG, which stands for ‘Raise and Give’ as a ‘‘perfect example of how Queen’s students give back an enormous amount to society. In the past five years, we’ve raised over £500,000 for our annually elected RAG charities’’. Indeed, this year’s proceeds from the QUB RAG event will be going to charities such as Aware, Cruse Bereavement Care, Mid Antrim Animal Sanctuary, and Children in Crossfire. RAG’s official charity partner is Childreach.
In addition to this, SHAG week has also been introduced, in conjunction with Valentine’s week. Sexual Health Awareness and Guidance abbreviates to SHAG, which is a week ‘‘all about Sexual Health and Guidance for our students at Queens’’ according to the Student’s Union Welfare Officer Jessica Elder who is working alongside Paul in organising said event. She emphasises the importance of their campaign as it is ‘‘run to tackle the stigma around STIs and to get the conversation around sex and sexual health started in a fun and interactive way.’’
The Student’s Union have organised a variety of events that will appeal to a broad range of students, while also raising money for a series of worthy charities.
Beginning at the start of the week, there will be a scrumptious educational gathering in the lounge at lunchtime called ‘Alphabet Soup’ – an appetising discussion on the LGBT issues, sexuality and sexual health, which organisers hope will foster a culture of knowledge and understanding amongst the student body.
Following this, ‘Anything for a Buck’ will be taking place that evening in Bar Sub, where participants will pay an initial £3 entry fee, and in turn will be presented with a special dollar bill, with which they will be given the opportunity to win more of throughout the night – all in the name of charity!
Valentine’s Day on Tuesday will generate widespread interest from all the single ladies, and men, who wish to participate in Belfast’s very own ‘Take Me Out.’ The Student’s Union have organised the show to occur in Bar Sub where “a night of love, lust and dreams will become reality for a few very lucky victors”.
The annual RAG Apprentice Fundraiser also ensues on Wednesday. The RAG team will be competing against SWAG, the Student Welfare Action Group, in an bid to be crowned the winners and avoid being fired by the SU’s very own ‘Lord Sugar’. The event’s proceeds will be donated to the five Union charities selected.
Towards the end of the week, upholding the SHAG part of the event, there will be private and confidential services where students can undergo rapid HIV testing, receiving results within thirty minutes of the assessment, as well as been given information regarding STIs.
Furthermore, there will be an assortment of sexy games and quizzes throughout the week testing people’s knowledge regarding ‘‘all things sexy, sexed-up and in general sex-related!’’.
As well as this, QUB’s Christian Medical fellowship have selected Guest Speaker Rev. Trevor Johnston to attend their workshop ‘Sex Bomb’ which was organised to aid Student’s understanding of sex from a Christian perspective.
To end the festivities, a Trad Music Night will also be in full swing on Friday due to its phenomenal success as ‘‘one of the biggest nights on campus’’ in the past.
As the Student Union has described it, ‘‘whether you are having sex, not having sex, thinking of having sex or just wanting to have some fun’’, the week of February 13th until 17th has an event that caters for everyone, whilst also raising funds for an abundance of worthy charities.