Unusual University Clubs

The university experience is largely about finding yourself as an individual, but the bustling campuses of colleges are also the best locations to join a selection of weird and wonderful groups. In such groups, members are united in a common goal by particularly mundane or strikingly unusual pursuits. We’ve picked our five top unusual university groups and societies so you don’t have to witness the horror of typing “weird groups” into Google.

Students Against Hippies In Trees, U.C Berkeley

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The thing about those hippies is that they are always up trees. One of the more unnecessarily political active university groups, this club is unsettlingly passionate about supporting the university’s decision to cut down trees on the campus. The aforementioned ‘hippies’ object to the felling. The group have even stepped up their operations from battling tree-hugging hippies to taking on those hippies sitting pretty at the top of those battle-scarred trees.

Hummus Society, University of Warwick and London School of Economics

Do you need a tasting evening university experience with over forty different types of hummus to go with a top degree classification? Then these two groups might be the best places for you. Yes, there are two of these groups in British universities. And my football club can’t even get another people together to make a team most Monday nights…

Anarchist Society, University of Edinburgh 

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First rule of Anarchist Club? Question why we have created an organisation. University anarchist groups might be expected to be vigorously active, but this society mostly devotes itself to consuming radical literature together.

Humans v Zombies, University of Florida

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Humans v Zombies is a society that has been set up in order to enable its members to experience a simulated zombie apocalypse. It is essentially a giant game of tag with a backdrop of students and campus buildings, where participants are split into humans and zombies. Humans can protect themselves from the zombie hoard with nerf guns and socks (everyone’s weapons of choice). Crucially, this society has confirmed that they will defend the campus if an actual zombie apocalypse breaks out!

Assassins Society, Durham University

In this group you are assigned a target and you have to ‘kill’ them without being noticed. In fact, the club bio proudly declares that “membership requires skill, cunning and alertness. Some members turn into cool, calm, collected and ruthlessly efficient killing machines, whereas others become jibbering wrecks, torn apart by paranoia, lying awake at night huddled close to their excessive arsenal of destructive weaponry”.

 

Technology: The Explosion of Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding is considered to be “the practice of funding a project or venture by raising many small amounts of money from a large group of people, typically via the Internet”. Here, we will explore the explosion of crowdfunding and how it is changing the way that we do business in the technology age.

The explosion of crowdfunding is staggering. It has become a global phenomenon that raised $6.1 billion in contributions in 2013, expanded by 165 percent in 2014 to $16.2 billion and 2015 is forecast to be another bumper year with anticpiated volumes of $34.4 billion.

The strong growth in 2014 was due in part to the rise of Asia as a major crowdfunding region. Asian crowdfunding volumes grew by 320 percent, to $3.4 billion raised. That puts the region slightly ahead of Europe ($3.26 billion) as the second-biggest region by crowdfunding volume. North America continued to lead the world in crowdfunding volumes, growing by 145 percent and raising a total of $9.46 billion.Word Cloud

Yet, crowdfunding isn’t solely a product of the Internet age. It stems from microfinance, which is a process that involves lending funds to low-income individuals who are often unable to take advantage of the financial mechanisms of the wealthy. Delving into the misty depths of history brings up many examples of microfinance. For example, in the eighteenth century, Jonathon Swift created the Irish Loan Fund and lent money to considerable numbers of poor families in rural Ireland.

Back to the future…the four main forms of crowdfunding that are and will revolutionise investing are:

Donation-based crowdfunding – For example…Shareagift! This strand involves contributing to something you desire or a cause you believe in, be that a wedding gift for a friend, a charity fundraising project or a group vacation.

Reward-based crowdfunding – An example of this would be Kickstarter who fund creative projects. Here, contributors are rewarded for funding business projects with diverse gifts, such as tickets to a party or having their name included on an album sleeve.

Equity-based crowdfunding – Investors in a start-up receive shares in the business in return for their funds.

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Lending-based crowdfunding – Also known as peer-to-peer lending, this process enables investors to receive interest at a later date from the business they invest in. Investors spread their risk by investing small amounts in a range of companies.

But why has crowdfunding grown monumentally? Well, the principal cause is technology. The Internet has made it possible to transfer funds to disparate individuals easily and social networking has granted crowdfunding a powerful virality. Nonetheless, the explosion of crowdfunding has also come at a time when there is widespread hostility towards the traditional financial mechanisms because the 2008 Financial Crash condemned corporate banks in the eyes of a significant proportion of the world’s population. Crowdfunding has, thus, materialised as a true alternative because it offers personable interactions, grassroots support and an incomparable network of willing investors who can enable businesses and campaigners to access funds that they may have been denied by traditional financial institutions. Now crowdfunding is here to stay and investors can ill-afford to ignore it!

Try it for yourself. Group fund any gift, cause or experience with Shareagift at www.shareagift.com

Kaye’s Friends Raise Cash to Send Her to Bali and Sydney

At Shareagift we have a wonderful time discovering all the causes and experiences that our users raise cash for. One brilliant example is Kaye. In celebration of Kaye’s 50th birthday this year (happy birthday!), her sister-in-law, Jacky, created a Shareagift page in order to collect funds to enable Kaye to fulfill her dream of visiting a spa retreat in Bali and travelling to beautiful Sydney. What a birthday gift!

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Jacky and Kaye’s friends originally intended to raise sufficient cash to fund her hotel and spa in Bali. However, in less than two weeks, Kaye’s friends raised over £1,200, which was more than double the original target!

Not only that, but Jacky also referred to Shareagift as a “virtual piggybank” – and we think that this term is a pretty cool way of describing what the website does.

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All that is left is for Kaye to revel in the warm waters of the Indian Ocean, relax in an idyllic spa and take in the breathtaking scenery of Bali before jetting off to Sydney to immerse herself in the bright lights of the city. Sounds all right to me.

We, at Shareagift, hope that you have an incredible time Kaye!

If you dream of far-off shores, don’t leave it at just that – dreams. Collect funds with Shareagift and you too can breathe in the sites and sounds of the tropics!

Best Shared Experiences To Enjoy When You’re Young

Incredible experiences are often enhanced by whom we share them with. What’s more, taking on these adventures with friends can sometimes push us out of our comfort zones and enable us to enjoy anything from incomparable travel adventures to new hobbies that we hadn’t previously considered. Here we list some of the best shared experiences to enjoy when you are young.

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  1. House Sharing  – Going out into the big, bad world and living independently helps young people to accrue heaps of discipline in a short space of time. Living together with similarly financially challenged friends when you are young is fun, liberating and character building. You also really get a good glimpse into your own soul and that of others when you are forced to deal with a flatmate leaving their washing in the machine over a weekend or endure an impressive pile of plates in the sink that blocks out the sun.

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  1. Backpacking  – Backpacking and travelling when you are young on a small budget is widely advocated because it involves exploring other cultures and challenging yourself physically and mentally. But these travel experiences are best enjoyed with a friend because the support of a fellow traveller can push you to interact with the backpacking pilgrims you encounter wherever your journey takes you.
  1. Music Festivals

 

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Shared music festival experiences are guaranteed to produce memories that will stay with you. But it’s not all about the music and the partying. Music festivals hark back to a simpler existence and often provide an authentic community experience. This is in stark contrast to the hustle-and-bustle of modern life and, for that reason, it’s beneficial to rekindle some of this community spirit whenever you can.

 

  1. Extreme Sports

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Whether you opt for BASE jumping off Yosemite’s El Capitan or white-water rafting down the Zambezi, there is more to extreme sports than the adrenaline rush. These experiences provide a perfect antidote to our safety-conscious world and enable us to appreciate the sheer power of nature. Why should this experience be shared? Somebody has to give you a bit of a push when you get scared!

 

  1. Volunteering

experience 5Volunteering offers you the chance to expand your horizons while putting the skills you have gained throughout school and college to the test. In particular, volunteering abroad can offer you a monumental insight into different cultures and provide a worldly view that will stand you in good stead in the commercial field as well. Most importantly, these experiences help us to appreciate what we have and respect differences when we encounter them. But such a step into a different world can be daunting, so why not walk it together with a friend?

Sign up to www.shareagift.com, create a page and share it among your friends to fund your next group experience. Start funding your experience in 3 simple steps.

CREATE – SHARE – TRACK

Fundraising Gone Mad: Innovative and Unique Charity Campaigns

Personal fundraising has traditionally been centred on going out of your comfort zone in the name of charity. However, some individuals have taken fundraising into the Twilight Zone. Below are some wacky and innovative fundraising campaigns:

1. Justin Bieber – The Ultimate Fundraising Mechanism

The Evanston Township High School in suburban Chicago fundraised to save a popular arts centre by blasting out the song ‘Baby’ by the sworn enemy of melodies, Justin Bieber. Passing students were only able to stop the onslaught by donating. Amnesty International was quick to condemn the fundraiser.

2. The World’s Largest Water Slide

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Two fun-loving Kiwis, Jimi Hunt and Dan Drupsteen, devised a fundraising campaign that consisted of constructing the world’s biggest water slide in Auckland. The fundraiser and its 650 metre slippery shoot raised funds and awareness for those battling depression, during a two-day festival in February 2013.

3. Wearing the Same Dress for a Year

In 2009, upon launching the Uniform project, Sheena Matheiken pledged to wear the same black dress every day for an entire year. She raised over $100,000 in donations for the Akanksha Foundation. Several men around the world have repeated such a fundraising campaign, focusing on wearing the same clothes for a year, albeit without raising funds for charity.

4. Spider Lock-in

Australian Nick Le Soeuf spent three weeks locked behind a shop facade with three hundred poisonous spiders to raise funds for Variety, a children’s charity. His previous fundraising campaigns have included stints in a snake pit and a shark tank. He is no long particularly fussy about where he goes on holiday.

5. ‘Friends’ Marathon

Steve Misiura watched watched 238 episodes (over 84 hours) of Friends to raise funds, through donations, for a course at the Central School of Speech and Drama in London. Sources suggest that he snapped after the 77th declaration of “We were on a break!”

6. Stormtrooper Walks Across Austrailia

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Star Wars enthusiast, Jacob French, walked 5,000km across Australia dressed as a Stormtrooper in aid of the Starlight Children’s Foundation, which fundraises for entertainment, education and family outings for sick children. Fellow travellers in the bush were relieved to find out that they hadn’t hallucinated a stormtrooper as a result of weariness.

Now such lengths are not required because Shareagift makes fundraising easy and seamless!

Shareagift Interview at Launch Festival

Justine and Tessa being interviewed by the boys at Creo Agency at Launch Festival earlier this month.

Marcus and his team spent some time at the event interviewing interesting startups, asking about their business models, their ambitions and what our superhero powers would be! Thanks to Creo for sharing the video with us – hope to see you there again next year!

Shareagift Interview at Launch Festival 2013

Highlights from Launch Festival 2013

Last week the Shareagift Team had the priviledge to attent Launch Festival 2013 and hear from some of the brightest minds in technology.

For those who haven’t come across it, Launch Festival is an annual event organised by Jason Calacanis that chooses a selection of the worlds most interesting startups to present to a series of judges, competing for investment and other prizes. Some of the most exciting tech startups of recent years made a name for themselves at Launch – including Airbnb, Yammer, Dropbox to name but a few.

For us it was also an opportunity to hear from some extraordinary panelists and keynotes – from pioneering entrepreneurs like David Sacks and Evan Williams, to some of the world’s top angel investors and leading VCs including True Ventures, Sequoia Capital and Google Ventures. Some of their insights were fascinating, so we wanted to pick a few of our highlights to share with you:

On startups: “Poker is like the cycle of a startup condensed into 2 minutes” – Chamath Palihapitiya ex-Facebook Director for Growth, Founder The Social+Capital Partnership

On ideas: “Startup ideas can’t just be good they have to be visionary, they have to be radical” – Tony Conrad, Founding member of True Ventures, founder of about.me and Sphere

On startup funding: “Publishers wouldn’t give u advance on yr first novel, startup funding’s the same so sit down and write the book”Naval Ravikant, Founder & CEO of AngelList

On fundraising: “Don’t worry about series A / B crunch, build a great, interesting company & they’ll always be capital available”David Cohen, Founder & CEO of TechStars

All in all it was a fantastic event – thank you Jason and all your team involved in organising it. We met some amazing people, heard inspiring discussion and caught a glimpse of those destined to be the stars of the future.

CitySourced pitching to the judges at Launch Festival 2013

Launch Festival leader board showing amount of funding raised

Jason making his closing remarks to the audience of over 5,000 attendees