The JCR and MCR support 5 charitable causes: 2 yearly elected charities, 2 permanent Oxford-based charities (Oxford Community Soup Kitchen and Wolvercote Young People’s Club), and the Charities’ Sponsorship Fund (see below).
A ballot is held in Michaelmas term every year to decide the 2 yearly elected charities. Any junior member may propose a charity to be included on the ballot, and every member of the JCR and MCR is entitled to vote.
Charities Sponsorship Fund
Junior Members can apply to the charities sponsorship fund to match any personal donations made to registered charities or double the total amount fundraised towards a goal. Applicants must show other sources of funding have also been sought.
The fund is managed by the charities sub-committees of the JCR and MCR which consists of the Charites Reps, Treasurers and Presidents. Grants must go to charities which the sub-committee can reasonably expect that the JCR/MCR would support; no funding should go to inefficient charities, ones doing work of questionable value, or to charities which carry out religious or controversial political activities (though charities with a religious background doing non-religious work will not be excluded).
Applications are managed by the Charities Rep. and can be made through the online form.
Merton and RAG
Merton also co-ordinates its fundraising with the university-wide fundraising organisation, Raise and Give (RAG), which is responsible for overseeing all charity fundraising by Oxford Students. RAG runs events throughout the year, from fashion shows to RAG blind date, climbing mountains to city breaks, all in aid of having a good time and lining the pockets of worthy causes. Merton has a strong contingent who have participated in RAG events, including Jailbreak and the RAG ball. RAG also helps to coordinate and encourage involvement in charity campaigns, which the Charity Rep helps to publicise, such as Movember.
Each term, the JCR and MCR Charities Reps. work hard to organise lots of events and fundraisers to raise money for the four chosen charities. This can include anything from hosting promise auctions to selling stash. There are also a few staple events in the termcard such as the termly charity formal or the infamous Merton’s Got Talent show in Hilary term. Charity events can be a great part of college life, as well as an important way to fundraise for fantastic charities. If you have an idea for an event or fundraiser, don’t hesitate to get in touch with the Charities Rep who would be happy to help.
Three levies are added to battles each term:
- Charities Levy (£10) – This is split equally between the JCR and MCR’s five charitable causes: £2 is donated to each of the four chosen charities and £2 is added to the sponsorship fund. Any money remaining in the sponsorship fund at the end of the academic year is donated equally to the four chosen charities in that year.
- Reach Scholarship (£3) – The Reach Scholarship was created by OUSU in 1990 to ensure that talented students from low-income countries have equal access to the opportunity to study at Oxford. The Reach Scholar receives assistance with their tuition fees and living costs, and the Scholarship is funded in a collaborative way by the University, the College, and the JCR. More information is available on the university page.
- Oxford Students Refugee Campaign Levy (£4) – The Oxford Student Refugee Campaign (OXSRC) scholarship fund is a student initiative which started in Trinity Term 2016. It aims to provide funding for students who: have asylum seeker status in the UK, reside in countries where the pursuit of education is hindered because of political and/or humanitarian crisis, or reside in a third country as a result of political and/or humanitarian crisis in their country of origin. The scholarship is funded by common rooms across the university through levies which cease 2 years after they are introduced. We want to get this scheme off the ground, show the university that this is an initiative that the student body feels is important and wants to promote and prove that if the scholarship is there, then refugees will apply for it. But ultimately we want to send the message that this is something that the wealthy university and alumni should be funding, not people living on a student budget. We’ll get the ball rolling, but we don’t want the university to feel that it isn’t their problem.OXSRC
These levies are entirely optional and you can opt-out or amend the amount you contribute to any of them by replying to an email the Charities Rep. sends out towards the end of each term.