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Campus Celebrity: Sophie Hunter

This week we interviewed Sophie Hunter, a second year studying FCH Russian, Business and Middle Eastern Studies. Sophie comes from Paris and will spend next year abroad in Moscow on an industrial placement. Along with her team members, Sophie has been fundraising for the Prince’s Trust and helped organise a Holi event last Saturday, as part of the RBS challenge. Their mission was to raise as much money as possible in 24 hours for the Prince’s Trust.The event was a concert of colours with the Beats and Bass, Thick as Thieves and Our House Djs to add some vibes. 

First off, could you just tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got involved with the Prince’s Trust? What made you get involved?

I had no idea about the RBS Indian Summer Challenge until I saw the big elephant outside the forum. I approached the RBS staff at the stand and signed up for the last slot of interviews. I didn’t really know what to expect and what it was about. The interview went quite well. The main topic was: as an employee of RBS you need to select 2 charities, how would you do the selection? As I was quite involved last year in various volunteering positions, I came across as a good candidate. In my first year, I was a First year Guild councillor, Library Champion, SSLC 1rst Year Politics and Russian, CA Frep. I helped organized Community Action Heart of Gold Ball, RAG’s Murder Mystery Ball and the National Student Volunteering. I like organizing events and setting up projects. The prospect of having the mission to fundraise as much money as possible within 24hrs teaming up with 4 other students seemed very exciting. To sum up, the RBS Indian Summer challenge consists of a competition between 5 students of each 15 universities selected. Each team has to fundraise in an entrepreneurial and creative way a minimum of 1,000 pounds for the Prince’s Trust within 24hrs. On the 25th of March, each team presents its project to a Board composed of RBS, CEO and RBS Consultants. The winning team has the chance to go to India for 3 weeks,spending 2 weeks volunteering and one week at the RBS office in Mumbai. Two years ago, the Exeter Team won the RBS Indian Summer Challenge and the prize of most creative idea. The Team rented out a rickshaw to take people around campus.  

The event has quite a unique theme – what made your team decide to go for this idea?

We tried to bring authenticity to our events. Our 24hrs were split in different activities. In the morning, we had a stall at the Guildhall shopping mall selling Indian lemonade. In the afternoon, the Concert of Colours was our main event. In the evening, we held a tuck shop and sold dominos that we got for free outside the Lemmy. We also sold Indian cookbooks that we compiled from friends’ and families’ recipes. Finally we offered our services to students: ironing, cleaning up rooms etc.

Holi or Festival of Colours is a major event on the calendar. Having attended one in Bristol 4 years ago, I was very enthusiastic about bringing one to Exeter. Teaming up with Beats and Bass, Our House and Thick as Thieves DJs enabled us to market our event. Holi invovlves throwing coloured powder at each other and sharing a moment of joy. We tried to recreate this atmosphere at our Concert of Colours.

How can people support the charity if they aren’t able to make the event?

People who are willing to helps us out even now, can donate on our just giving page here.

Are there any other events coming up to raise money for the Prince’s Trust that we should know about?

As I mentioned above, we had few events within our 24 hours: Indian lemonade, cookbook, concert, Domino’s/tuck shop and chores.

What’s it been like organising an event like this? Was it easy to get the support of other students/societies?

Organizing this in 24hrs was very demanding. I have to say that now I am very happy to be able to relax and not worry about a risk assessment that needs to be amended! We got challenges for 3 weeks that had to be overcome to ensure the success of our event. Many times we thought Exeter Team would have to drop out of the competition. It was quite tricky to find support within such a short period of time. We had to think out of the box many times to resolve issues. For example instead of importing Holi powder, we decided to make it ourselves. To find a van available on Saturday at 12, we found one on the streets. To carry all of the lemonade to town, we borrowed Tesco trolleys….. I should write a book about our 24hrs.

Being a non Guild event made it quite complex to get insurance and electricity. Our location had to be changed last minute. Overall we learnt a lot. We managed to put up our 24hrs successfully. We raised about 1200 pounds towards the Princes Trust cause in spite of last minute costs and poor weather! At least now I know a lot more about how to organize an event and who to talk to. I had to run to quite a few departments; from Hope Hall to Streatham Farm.

For now, I am planning to relax as I am going back home tomorrow. We have to sort out our balance sheet and prepare for our presentation on 25th . I hope to send Her Campus a postcard from India this summer!

Siobhan is a third year English Literature student and Sex and Relationships Co-Editor for HCX. When she isn't frantically looking up plot summaries on Spark Notes the night before a seminar, she enjoys unwinding with a bottle of wine (or two) outside Timepiece. Though she hasn't yet mastered the art of cooking, she is an avid fan of eating. She also enjoys discussing the joys and woes of the opposite sex and can't wait to do more of this as part of the Sex and Relationships team this year.
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