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  • Thu 27 Nov 2014 13:45

    At the crack of dawn on Saturday, 19 teams piled onto a coach, blindfolded and taken to an unidentified location to raise money for the brilliant charity, Spires.

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    Their mission? To get back to LSE as fast as possible, without spending any money.

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    This is no easy feat. To make it even more exciting, this year we set them a variety of challenges: basic, intermediate and legendary, to have a bash at whilst on their journeys home.

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    Clad in amazing costumes (Bilbo RAGgins in full beard and cloak being one of my faves) the teams took to the streets of Barry Island, Wales- home of Gavin & Stacey - to knock on the doors of strangers’ cars at petrol stations, pull over drivers with signs pleading for lifts and blag tickets onto coaches, trains and buses, in the hope of getting back to base.

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    At an impressive 3:50pm, the first team back, with mighty bravado, made it through the doors of Lincoln’s Inn, much to the surprise of RAG HQ. They had been lucky enough to sweet-talk their way onto a train headed straight to London from Cardiff, earning themselves a whopping 40 points for first place!

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    BUT, they may not be going straight for Gold just yet, Carpool Saunders and Hitchin’ Havoc earned 20 points by completing a legendary challenge: a victory lap down a high street whilst being carried by strangers! They also persuaded a coach load of passengers to do the Harlem Shake, ticking off yet another box in the challenges list. Check out RAG’s Facebook page for more photos of the teams arriving.

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    Most importantly, the teams managed to raise an INCREDIBLE, £7,000 for Spires!!!!

    They certainly set the bar high, but if you’ve been inspired by RAG Gets Lost and think you can take on an even bigger challenge, make sure to check out our next fundraising adventure, new this year (!) 

    … JAILBREAK!!!

    We’ll be posting all the details for our info session on the RAG Facebook page so make sure you give us a like! Feel free to follow us on Twitter if you’re interested too. #cheekyplug.

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    by Emannuelle Andrews, RAG VP

    See also:

    RAG on Twitter

    RAG on Facebook

    RAG Does Tough Guy 2014

  • Thu 27 Nov 2014 11:45

    Tom, your Education Officer, asked LSE’s students whether their education here has met their expectations.

    At Re-Imagining Our Education on Tuesday night, it was time to answer.

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    What was the student and staff opinion? Tom fills us in…

    On Tuesday night, students, award winning teachers and LSE staff debated education at LSE.

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    Improving teaching quality and student engagement were the main points of conversation, and every member of the discussion agreed that more student input in making the decisions that affect education was needed.

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    I’m keen to continue these events to provide that input – and focus them on more specific issues, like changes to our library and to assessment happening this year.

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    Thanks to all that came and keep an eye out for the next one! If you have any comments or suggestions - especially if you weren’t able to attend the event - drop me an email.

    Cheers,

    Tom

    See also:

    Re-Imagining Our Education - Reflections on the Initial Conversation

    Re-Imagining Our Education: 2013 (video)

    Tom Maksymiw on Twitter

  • Wed 26 Nov 2014 12:19

    There’s an awful lot about religion in the news and it’s not always positive. The protracted Israel-Palestine conflict, massacre of Rohingya Muslims in Burma, persecution of Uyghurs and Christians in China, increased conflation of religion and state power in many countries – the list goes on.

    While root causes can’t be reduced solely to religion, it continues to play a large role in states’ justification of violence and conflict. 

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    LSE’s Interfaith Week was a chance for students of all faiths (or none) to engage about religion, culture, and spirituality in an open, inclusive, and non-intimidating forum. I was sent to participate in a meditation session, and hopefully, learn something in the process…

    Meditation, I scoffed. As a former sales assistant in an aromatherapy store, I had encountered my fair share of customers trying to tell me about my chakras. That was about the extent to which my relationship with zen had progressed over the years. I didn’t purposefully shy away from the spiritual, but didn’t see – or make – room for it in my life. 

    Part of my reluctance to engage was discomfort with the way “trendy” New Age practices have evolved and divorced with their historical, cultural, and spiritual significance. In Vancouver, where I’m from, there are (very expensive!) yoga studios and juice bars on every street corner.

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    The author partaking in a traditional Vancouverite activity, yoga in the ocean

    Wellness and spirituality have become commodities that signify a certain – mostly white, upper-middle class – aspirational lifestyle, and frankly I just wasn’t keen to participate in it. 

    On a personal level, the idea of taking time out to be alone with my thoughts was a little frightening. I had no idea what to expect when I arrived in the Cave, a dimly-lit room in the Faith Centre adorned by rope-knit beanbag seats and candles. In the back of my mind, a niggling thought remained: What if I’m doing it wrong? Can you even do meditation wrong? 

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    My fears turned out to be, thankfully, unfounded. I was pleasantly surprised when the session largely featured breathing and visualization exercises, both of which I was quite familiar with, thanks to ongoing efforts to cope with anxiety through those methods. I was also heartened when the session ended with a series of readings from Sufism, Buddhism, and Kabbalah on the importance of mindfulness and interpersonal relationships.  

    Now, I’m not saying that meditation is going to become a major part of my life from here on. I certainly didn’t transcend to some higher mental state or have some sort of spiritual awakening, but the idea of just taking time out to find some inner peace and quiet doesn’t intimidate me as much any more.

    For all my scepticism, Interfaith Week provided a gateway for me (and hopefully other students) to open up to new ideas and experiences. I’m glad that it pushed me to do something outside my comfort zone that challenged me and my assumptions.

    by student Communications Assistant Mary Leong

    See also:

    LSESU Meditation Circle

    LSESU Meditation Circle Facebook

    Introducing Interfaith Week 2014