Lesser spotted societies

Taking a look at five of the newest, and most niche societies on campus

The social scene at Trinity has long been dominated by College’s more established societies, but what can be said for the smaller societies? The stands you walked by that didn’t have overarching canopies, that tried to entice you with biscuits and €2 membership. From Chess Society to Metafizz, Trinity has a plethora of obscure clubs, hiding in plain sight. Although these societies may not be known by everyone, their passionate members make them some of the most vibrant groups on campus. Here are five of the newest, smallest and most enigmatic societies Trinity has to offer.

Vegan Society

Despite only receiving recognition by the Central Societies Committee (CSC) last March, DU Vegan Society is growing rapidly, with both vegan and non-vegan members. Lead by Chair Will Stapleton, Vegan Soc aims to give a voice to the vegan movement in College – a voice that lacked a much demanded outlet before now.

The society hosts a wide variety of events, focusing on those which are either informative, discursive, or social in nature. With their panel month coming up this November, Vegan Soc have experts visiting from around the country, to give talks and lead discussions on nutrition, fitness, and ethical entrepreneurship. Potlucks, screenings, and the odd night out are also included in the society’s event catalogue.

“There was a pretty large cohort of students ready to jump aboard from day one, as it was a society that was really missing from College life,” Stapleton told Trinity News. “I expect we’ll continue to grow in conjunction with the growing movement, and we hope to be the source of information, community, support, and fun for students in the College.” Vegan Soc consider themselves “positive activists”: they aim to “create change through bringing smiles, fun, and a positive presence to the college!”

Gamers Society

Founded in 1978, Gamers Soc wouldn’t consider themselves to be newcomers. At just under 300 members, this self-confessed niche society focuses on games played without screens. However, with “gamers” being such a broad term, it can be a struggle to convey what the society is about. The society specialises in board games, role playing games, card games such as Yu-Gi-Oh, and tabletop miniature games like Warhammer 40k.

Gamers Soc keep themselves busy, generally running three to four events per week. Card games are traditionally played every Tuesday, board games on Wednesdays, and Thursdays often alternate between miniatures games and role-playing games.

Gamers have been a somewhat insular society for quite a while. This is something Gamers President, Rian Boyle, admits they “always try to break out of”. This year in particular, student interest has really picked up. With games such as Dungeons and Dragons becoming vastly popular, board games have really made a comeback. Boyle added that “gaming has definitely been picking up more and more attention as a hobby, and as a society we are more than happy to cater to the needs of all our new members.”

In reaction to the increased interest, Gamers Soc will be running monthly board games nights that are open to everyone. They have recently started a popular Dungeons and Dragons campaign, “Echoes of an Empire”. Their annual board games convention, Leprecon, is the oldest continuously running gaming convention in the country, now in its 40th year!

Pagan Society

Founded last year by students who have since departed Trinity, Pagan Soc is currently run by a committee who are dedicated to seeing it thrive. Receiving confirmation of official society status from the CSC on the same day as the holiday of Imbolc (St. Brigid’s Day) was a sign for Pagan Soc. Since becoming officially registered, Brigid has been considered by members to be somewhat of a patron deity of the society.

Although, there was a great deal of interest during Freshers’ Week, Secretary Ralph Moore admits, “unsurprisingly, not all of [the new members] have been full-time devotees” but the society have had “a solid core group since then”. Pagan Soc aims to provide a community space and be a source of information for Pagan students across campus, as well as to raise awareness of Paganism. Aside from celebrating the major Pagan holidays – Samhain, Autumn Equinox, and Yule – throughout the year, the society holds events on a weekly basis. These events include introductory talks and workshops on topics such as Tarot reading, ritual spell-work, Shamanism, and various Pagan denominations.

Juggling and Circus Skills Society

While many will have witnessed fireshows in Front Square complete with flaming props being juggled, most students won’t recognise the team behind the magic – Trinity Juggling and Circus Skills Society. The society has a soft spot for juggling, but also focuses on skills ranging from fire-breathing to pole dancing, and everything in between.

Currently standing at 70 members, they group are always looking to grow their community. Training sessions are held every Tuesday in Goldsmith Hall, where this year, beginner workshops have been taking place. At these workshops, students can learn any number of new skills.

Aside from training sessions, the society attend events such as the National Circus Festival in Tralee, Belfast Juggling “Funvention”, and renegades – imagine open-mic nights for jugglers. Last year saw the birth of Strictly Come Juggling, an intervarsity competition hosted by the society, where jugglers from colleges across Dublin come to compete.

Having been around for approximately fifteen years, the society’s OCM, Sean Connor, says: “It can be frustrating when people aren’t aware that the society exists – even at events that we take part in or help organise.” Although Freshers’ Week this year saw a decrease in sign-ups, lack of recognition hasn’t burnt out the passion of current members. Connor went on to add, “we exist to celebrate all things juggling, […] to learn from each other, to travel, and see world-class performers, and to endeavour to be among them.”

Internet Society

More commonly known as Netsoc, DU Internet Society offers its members a multitude of web services. They run weekly tutorials in their society room in Goldsmith Hall, which can be on anything related to computing, technology, and the internet. Tutorials are free to members, and cater to a wide range of skill levels. The computer savvy have the opportunity to learn about making websites, installing content management systems, making graphics for the web, animation and more. Members also have access to Netsoc’s well-stocked library, which features over 100 technical, fictional, and cartoon books. As well as offering tech assistance, Netsoc often hosts talks by guest speakers.

In the past, they have featured the likes of activist and programmer, Richard Stallman, creator of Project Cyborg, Professor Kevin Warwick, and infamous Digicel and Communicorp founder, Denis O’Brien. Social events are also part of the Netsoc calendar, with pub quizzes and hackathons occurring throughout the year. Netsoc have approximately 150 members who are committed and eager to be involved. Secretary Sulla Montes says that they  “endeavour to provide a space for students passionate about technology to congregate and learn from one another”.

Sarah Moran

Sarah Moran is the current Head Copyeditor of Trinity News. She is also a Senior Sophister English Literature student.