Ents race: Antonia Brady to make events “as accessible for all as possible”

Brady capitalises on “non-traditional event spaces” and has plans in place even if required to go virtual

Antonia Brady, a fourth year Drama and Irish student, is one of two candidates vying for the position of Entertainments (Ents) Officer for the 2021-22 term in the Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU). Hailing from Navan, Co. Meath, Brady is heavily involved with DU Players, having held the position of Players Ents Officer for the 2020-2021 academic year. During her tenure as Ents Officer, Brady organised roughly 30 events, including the November “Murder Mystery” event in collaboration with the Law Society, a roast event for Seachtain na Gaeilge and the upcoming DU Players virtual ball. 

Brady’s campaign has seen her emphasise a desire to promote inclusivity, accessibility and community in the many events she hopes to organise if elected, whether those events will be in an online capacity or in-person with restrictions. She plans to hold both “immersive virtual events” and use “non-traditional event spaces” to give all students the opportunity to experience a variety of events, and she would do so by way of collaboration with as many societies as possible. 

Brady also plans to use the larger resources and communication abilities provided to the SU Ents Officer and reach out to as many societies as possible to establish a clear line of communication between herself and all society Ents officers. This communication would go both ways, as Brady plans to encourage societies to come to her with any ideas for events. 

Additionally, she wants to create new traditions, including a “Christmas Day” series of events that take place before Christmas break. “This would be a series of events, collaborating with societies, to celebrate the end of the semester, culminating with a series of themed parties in the city centre,” said Brady.

One of Brady’s top priorities for Ents is to implement more immersive, personal events online, giving Ents more “excitement and hype” going into the coming academic year. “There is a massive variety of events that can take place online, from Murder Mysteries to roast events to society collabs,” explained Brady, “and as Ents Officer I would want to hold different kinds of events that would be inclusive for every student”. 

To Brady, every student has a different experience, and she has stated that events should showcase this diversity by being plentiful and variable. It is also important to Brady to give students an immersive experience even if online – she plans to do so through the use of breakout rooms, groups of smaller events online or holding events that require more participation. She believes that “many things can be translated to online” with some rearranging. 

Brady would like to make every event “as accessible for all as possible.” She claims that accessibility is very high on the list of points she hopes to focus on, and she plans to “have free and low-cost events when possible and use non-traditional event spaces, especially ones that are already available”. 

If events must remain mostly online due to government restrictions, Brady plans to hold many events that do not require any cost of admission. “There may be some standout, pricey events, ones that are for fundraising or for fancier online events, but the majority of events either online or in-person would be free or cost very little to give more students the opportunity to take part”.  Overall, however, the events she plans to hold would be inclusive cost-wise, excluding expensive trips such as group trips to Europe. 

She also wants to stream any events that happen in person to give all students the ability to attend in some form. “Even as things begin to return to normal, many people may not be able to make the commute into town for events – streaming them would be a great opportunity for more people to be able to get involved while staying within government guidelines for restrictions”.

If government restrictions allow, Brady plans to use “different types of spaces” than those used by past Ents officers. For example, she hopes to use spaces such as galleries, studios and outdoor spaces to accommodate more students and follow social distancing guidelines. “This could include live low-scale concerts, inviting speakers, and so many other enjoyable things,” she stated. Brady plans to give out information about the accessibility of each venue at the time of each event announcement. 

Brady wants to use spaces already available for access – utilising Trinity’s campus is one of her main venue goals for events. “We have been away from campus for so long, and for everyone either coming back or coming there for the first time, it would be great to explore and spend time on campus through events,” she remarked. This includes inviting students to the Pav for drinks or utilising Front Square as an outdoor venue. 

If more in-person events are allowed, one of Brady’s first goals would be to throw events at clubs and bars for Freshers’ week, as well as throwing cultural events both on- and off-campus. If online, these events would be more face-to-face and interactive for everyone attending. “It would be great for people to meet each other and be able to talk, even if the friendship begins on an online platform,” said Brady. While she plans to run only one Freshers’ Week, in contrast with campaign plans made by her opponent Greg Arrowsmith, she hopes to cater specific events to second years to give them a chance to meet each other and have a “more normal Freshers’ Week experience”. 

As Ents Officer for DU Players, Brady spearheaded many events, including collaborating with many societies. One of her favorite events to run was the Murder Mystery, as well as a Mock Trial collab with LawSoc. 

“I want to reach out to as many societies as possible, both bigger and smaller ones, and collaborate with everyone possible. These collaborations would be year-round, and especially active during the busy weeks such as Rag Week and Refreshers Week,” she stated. 

She also aims to make Trinity Ball a more accessible event, and if the event is held in person next year she plans to add a respite area during the event. As Trinity Ball is an expensive event, Brady plans to hold a series of events featuring society collaborations in the week coming up to Trinity Ball.

As a part of her campaign, Brady hosted a “Space Jam” event on Zoom, with virtual attendance exceeding 150 students. The event featured breakout rooms for Tarot card readings, a “chill zone” where attendees could chat, and acts in collaboration with Trinity Musical Theatre Society, DU Players and Law Society. 

When asked about the “Save Trinity Ents” petition launched by students in September 2020, which aimed to turn the position of Ents Officer into four part-time officers, Brady says that “the students who began the petition had some insight, but every new sabbat that is elected comes into the position with a new level of passion and drive, and they all work hard”. 

“Save Trinity Ents” emerged in September and was led by a group of students claiming that a single Ents officer was unfit for carrying out the role to host all events, and signers to the petition agreed that a committee of students would more efficiently host engaging events for others. The petition was met with initial support, but the organisers have since abandoned the petition.

Brady stated that she believes that the role of an Ents officer is demanding, and “four students taking on the role and their degrees would be too much”. If elected, she would like to sit down and talk with the launchers of the petition to discuss any changes that can currently be implemented to improve the role of Ents as it currently stands. 

To Brady, the purpose of the TCDSU is to be “a service that prioritizes the students and looks after them, even when the university does not”. She stated that “the SU is there for the students first,” continuing that “Ents is there for students to get a break from the difficulty and stresses that come along with being a student”.

She says, from her own experience, that events are for students to make the best memories in university and to make and strengthen friendships. If elected, Brady hopes to throw events that help students settle into college life and enjoy it throughout the years. 

Julia Bochenek

Julia Bochenek is a Staff Writer for Trinity News, and a Junior Sophister English Studies student.