STEPHANIE VAN DER PLANK
Earlier this year, Perdeby reported several problems that were plaguing the Rag charity organisation. The traditional UP Beats music festival, normally held at the beginning of the year to kick off Rag weekend, was in danger of being cancelled due to financial difficulties experienced by the committee.
Workshops held at the beginning of the year, aimed at identifying problems in the organisation, concluded that, in general, Rag culture places too much emphasis on partying and not enough on community development initiatives. According to Rag’s acting manager and the coordinator of Special Programmes with UP’s Department of Student Development, Dr Rina Wilken, they promised to “refocus [their] charity efforts” and become more involved with community projects and the student community.
Director of Student Affairs Dr Matete Madiba said discussions about the annual Rag procession are taking place as they are preparing for next year and some changes might be made. However, Dr Wilken assured Perdeby that the procession will definitely take place next year.
Dr Wilken added that, at this stage, UP Beats has not been finalised. It is Rag’s intention to move the festival to the end of the first term, but a final decision is yet to be reached.
With regard to finances, Dr Wilken said Rag is paying out almost R700 000 to charities this year, demonstrating the committee’s involvement in community projects as well as their financial growth.
The Rag debutante programme has been conducting projects of its own, which have reportedly been very successful. Dr Wilken said the financial situation has “improved [by] leaps and bounds” but could still be worked on.