In the Foothills
You wind up doing a lot of strange things in my job. ‘Student activity’ applies to such a broad spectrum of ‘stuff’ and I’m often lucky enough to be invited to join in, as long as I don’t get in the way. A particularly dense week had me poised upside down on an exercise pole, my chest hair waxed off by a total stranger for money, and abseiling down Central Hall dressed as an elf. Sandwich that between meetings with the Vice-Chancellor about freezing International fees throughout their time at uni, getting a petition signed by hundreds of students for more storage on campus and chairing the SU’s trustee board and, well, you’ve got a very unusual sandwich.
When speaking to groups of students, I have always tried to encourage them to look beyond the books and engage with the brilliant activity on their doorstep. ‘Get Involved’ is bounced a lot through a fresher’s orientation, but the phrase begins to get a little tired after a while. I’m now lucky enough to stand on a very visible platform - but with a great platform comes great responsibility. With that in mind, I’ve decided to follow the inspiring example of York’s societies, college committees, sports teams and every other student-led group, and dedicate some time encouraging students to get active and engage with the community.
On 8th April, I’ll be running the Manchester Marathon to raise money for the Independent Domestic Abuse Service and Action for Children, two Yorkshire-based charities that were chosen by York students and provide an invaluable service to the wider community - £2000.00 is the target. I’ll be hosting events throughout the term to raise money and joining student groups to help me get my fitness up. Training has begun, so far it’s been pretty tough but I’m getting there.
So what do I want to achieve by doing this? Crossing the finish line would be great and hitting my fundraising target would also be a win, but really I’d like to encourage more students to get up, get out and do something - anything - whether it’s getting fit, pursuing a hobby, volunteering, waxing your chest for money or just trying something new. Doing any of this ‘stuff’ takes a lot more energy when you’re in full-time employment - so there’s no time like the present.
In one of the many cringe marathon training testimonials I read recently, it compared training for a marathon and climbing a mountain. It finishes at the ‘summit’, in a painstaking, euphoric triumph. Before that, however, there’s a lot of shit. I’m still very much warming up for the hard work, gazing up at a steep ascent, nervous in the foothills, but excited to finish.
If you’d like to support these brilliant causes, thank you! If you’d like to keep up to date with my training and watch me suffer, fair enough! Details for both below.
Text ‘RUNA18 £1’ to 70700 to donate £1
Keep up with my training: https://www.facebook.com/AlexRunsforRAG/
Action for Children: https://www.actionforchildren.org.uk