At 5:45am on 18 January, 173 students boarded buses that would drop them off across Scotland. Their task: to hitchhike across Europe to Prague as fast as possible as part of the annual Charities Campaign event Race2. Over the next five days, racers worked tirelessly to convince the drivers of trains, planes, lorries, cars, buses and even a limo or two to give them a free lift. I am thrilled to say that all 77 teams that took off from St Salvator’s Quad made it to Prague.
I have been involved with Race2 Safety for the last three years and it has been a wonderful ride. As a charity event, Race2 has been extremely successful – the 2012 Race2 Barcelona raised over £35,000. However, what stays with me are the stories that we hear from racers about their journey. This year, one team was invited to stay the night and join their hosts at a 60th birthday party! Several teams were taken out to dinner, others were offered housing and a man intending to drive to Bulgaria drove the winning team all the way across Europe to the steps of our hostel.
Perhaps the most inspiring story of the race came from Team 1. Their text to the Prague safety team said “Guy bought us 3 train tickets to Prague for €560. His mum died from cancer. There are no words.”
This simple text reminded us all why we get involved in the Charities Campaign – the hours we put in and the crazy events we put on are all to support charities that make a lasting impact on people’s lives.
The University of St Andrews Charities Campaign is a subcommittee of the St Andrews Students’ Association. Proceeds raised by the Campaign will benefit the following six charities in 2012/2013: Médecins Sans Frontières, Families First (St Andrews), Children’s Hospice Association Scotland (CHAS), Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI), Macmillan Cancer Support, Maggie’s Cancer Caring Centres (Fife and Edinburgh).
Charities Campaign Convenor
In addition to raising funds for these deserving charities, the 2013 Charities Campaign will also support the Students’ Association Bursary — which aims to raise £30,000 this year to endow its own needs-based bursary fund. This fund will provide for prospective students with significant financial need who otherwise might not be able to even have the chance of studying at St Andrews and experiencing traditions like Race2 and the Charities Campaign. To learn more or show your support for this student-led effort, click here.