TCDSU Elections 2013: Manifesto Reviews
Ruairí Casey, Max Sullivan, Ian Curran and Catherine Healy
Again, it begins. With the SU election campaign period now underway TN staffers cast a cold eye over each candidate’s manifesto.
Inside Rosa Langhammer’s manifesto, next to some biographical details about the 21-year-old business, economics and social studies (Bess) student, are her five key policies. A quick glance at the titles shows that these are largely ideas to make life a bit more convenient for the average Trinity student. She proposes a “Trinity College app” to provide “news, events and information – from which computer rooms are free to campus maps to deals of the week”.
Apps seem to hold some sort of magical appeal to people now, and there would be no denying the convenience for smartphone users. Practically speaking, how long it would take to develop, how well various College bodies would collaborate on it and how it could possibly tell how many free seats are in a computer room are some questions for Langhammer to answer. And will it appeal to those who do not read the existing Students’ Union email, as she claims? Well, I suppose there is no point having a smartphone and using it just for texts and calls.
Her idea for a Students’ Union loyalty card is a simple and effective way of encouraging students to shop with the union. Perhaps applying burrito-bar policies to the union is the way forward. Everybody needs policies on deals-of-the-week these days, and Langhammer wants more deals for students based outside of College. The union can rarely compete with existing student offers in the city centre, so these deals would probably mean more to St James’s hospital and Tallaght hospital students for whom student offers are sparser. An easier-to-access online jobs board is another sound policy, though voters should remain wary of any policy reliant on IS Services.
“Where is House 6?” asks the manifesto. It seems that there is not enough to tell the wandering student that they are drifting deep into the heart of the union. Apparently, “clearing up the clutter and putting up information boards … will make [House 6] more of a centre for students”. I am sceptical that new signage will seriously affect students’ engagement with the union, but perhaps I underestimate the effect a large neon arrow would have.
In last edition’s presidential race preview, we said that Trinity needs a student president willing to take strong action on the biggest issue in student life: fees. Though Langhammer acknowledges that “the government is putting pressure on students” and that it is part of a president’s role to campaign on big issues, like “access to education”, it seems telling that the word “fees” is entirely absent from the manifesto. More convenience for students is no bad thing, but does the Students’ Union really have no bigger battles to fight?
Lylas Aljohmani’s manifesto (also available as Gaeilge, for those unable to read English) undoubtedly has the most presidential cover of the lot; but what are the policies like?
By “building a strong relationship with local letting agencies”, Aljohmani wants to give College’s students better and cheaper letting opportunities. Housing in Dublin is not cheap and it is not always easy to find. If this new service were fully developed, it would undoubtedly make life a great deal less stressful for folk from beyond the Pale. It is a vast plan, one that would require working with multiple letting agencies over a long period of time. Aljohmani will need to provide more detail to show the viability of this idea, but it is certainly a promising one.
She wants to collaborate with the Alumni Office and the Careers Advisory Service to provide internship opportunities. This is another policy to which it is hard to object on paper, but one that would require a great deal of work to bring to reality. But internships are the way forward, whether we like it or not, so it will definitely be an appealing policy.
The Students’ Union bookshop has seen better days, with Trinity News running a story earlier this year about its decreasing revenue. Aljohmani wants a student-staffed booksale at the beginning of each term, with the bookshop buying books from students and selling them to others. A small charge would go towards the running of the shop and its online catalogue. A cynical man would say that she has done nothing more than describe how it already works. But a cynical man probably wouldn’t vote at all now, would he?
Other policies include office hours for students based outside of College, and “insuring” (I prefer “ensuring”, myself) that students’ voices are heard. “On-campus voting and weekend voting allows more students to vote in local election [sic].” I am not sure I can interpret this in any charitable fashion. Why Dublin city council would put polling booths in Trinity; how a Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union president could overturn longstanding government policy on weekday voting; and why the local elections are so important at all elude me.
Well, those are the main policies covered. Best look through the “As Well As” section: deal of the week, WiFi access for Android, protecting the grant, longer opening hours at the health-centre reception. Sorry, grant, almost missed you there. Nary a mention of the word “fees” here, either, in case you were wondering.
I have no preview copy of Tom Lenihan’s manifesto, but from my text edition I can only assume that the number of policies will require a manifesto the size of a pocket dictionary. Lenihan promises to protect the grants “through lobbying those who have the power to stop them”. Easier said than done, so we will need to see just how he intends to do that. Plans to take on College bureaucracy by getting exam timetables published earlier are ambitious to say the least. And how the Students’ Union president might make Erasmus “more accessible”, I do not know. It sounds awfully nice, though.
Plans for College include a student kitchen (for making tea, drinking tea and any other tea-based activities), a committee for College residents and fixing that door near the computers in the Arts Building. A noble task, that last one: removing the barriers to education. Perhaps this policy could be extended to opening the door by the Arts Building cafe for longer. Thankfully, these promises are a little more achievable.
More policies: a more accountable ents office, protecting nurses, fighting fee increases (well, someone remembered!), tackling laptop theft (why not tackle the thieves themselves?), and an increased focus on mental health. Some credit should be given to Lenihan for being the only one of the three to properly mention specific political issues. Of course, a name-check is one thing and action is another. The Students’ Union has not had an effective political leader in a while now, and Lenihan will have to prove himself here.
This manifesto seems to lie somewhere between the populist and the Quixotic; but, all the same, if Lenihan could prove himself capable of enacting half of his policies he would probably make a decent president. The big question: is Tom Lenihan a man for all seasons? With so many promises – many of which actually come under the auspices of the other sabbatical officers – he would want to be.
Our prediction that the communications office would be one of the most hotly contested races has proved to be accurate. While one or two of the candidates have stuck to some of the more tried and true types of campaign promises that have been made in the past, there have been some truly radical ideas introduced by this year’s crop of candidates. Promises to completely change the University Times’ format from a broadsheet newspaper to a bimonthly glossy magazine and to reform its editorial structure are probably some of the most contentious policies that communications candidates have put forward in recent years.
Policies like these will probably become the most talked about aspects of this race, and have the potential as truly drastic reforms to become one of the major talking points of the campaign season as a whole. However, because of their radical nature these promises are going to require a not-insignificant amount of salesmanship on the candidates’ parts. The winner of this race is going to have to have the ability to marry the more drastic ideas for the newspaper reform with cogent policies that actually take into account the other aspects of the communications role.
To some extent, each manifesto is guilty of an imbalance between their “communications” policies and their ideas for the newspapers. Most of the candidates are probably more willing to focus on the former than the latter, and moreover, there is a degree of ambiguity about the content of some of the promises. Nevertheless, this year’s crop of candidates raise some interesting problems and put forward some quite original solutions in their respective manifestos.
Leanna Byrne’s manifesto, while light on the kind of drastic policies proposed by her competitors Matthew Taylor and Tommy Gavin, is heavy on the baseline promises of inclusion and expansion. On the communications side of things, Byrne wants to “engage” students as communications officer and “combat” the sense of disconnect that students experience from their union. Her solution to these problems is to set up a Student Hub website for Trinity students where they can “share, discuss, and ask questions about anything student or Trinity related.” The hub will include sections for jobs and internships, exam preparation and also an interactive personal calendar.
This is probably one of the most comprehensive ideas to combat the disconnect between students and union that has been put forward by the candidates this year. However, Byrne’s manifesto arguably suffers from a conservative formatting that fails to draw attention to how simple and effective a solution this would be.
In my opinion, Byrne should not be afraid to hammer this policy home, considering the fact that there have been many promises made by prospective communications officers in recent years to fix this disconnect that simply have not come to adequate fruition. A simple and cheap medium like this would at the very least improve the interaction of some students with the college and the union, and basic policies like this shouldn’t be written off just because they are not flashy.
The problem for Byrne is going to be that, in a race with candidates who are asking for wide and sweeping reform of the office, she seems to have adopted a light-touch style of campaign promise and material. She will really have to sell the cost-effectiveness and simplicity of her communications policies. On the newspaper side of her campaign, the changes she wants to make are similarly subtle.
Tommy Gavin is in a unique position in this race, being probably the most experienced journalist out of the four, and also the candidate with the most comprehensive programme of reform for the newspaper. The novelty factor of Gavin’s promise to turn the University Times into a glossy magazine and to put most of their news content online instead of into a printed newspaper is going to propel Gavin into a position of curiosity for spectators of this race. But Gavin has arguably an even higher burden of proof than most of the other candidates as to the radicality of this promise. Convincing some of the more traditionalist student media consumers in Trinity that a pretty much solely online approach to news media is necessary is going to be something of an uphill battle.
Moreover, Tommy’s election materials run the risk of drawing attention from his other policies, such as the promise to adopt a code of practice and ethics for the paper. The imbalance between communications policies and newspaper reforms is probably most clear in Gavin’s election material, with very little detail given to how he wants to make the Students’ Union website “more accessible.” But his materials depict him as both a very competent and somewhat visionary journalist.
Gavin is going to have a lot of appeal for people who are not too concerned about the institutional aspect of the communications role and are more focused on the quality of the newspaper. The “why not?” factor of Gavin’s campaign promises is something that elevates him above the other candidates on paper. However, he is really going to have to sell his reform and also explain how that change in the newspaper’s content and format can be mirrored in the more boring aspects of the job. Gavin has our curiosity, and now he needs to hold our attention.
Ricky McCormick’s platform embraces some of the aforementioned tried and true communications policies. McCormick promises editorial independence, the utilisation of other media outlets in College such as Trinity FM for spreading of the Students’ Union’s message, weekly SU clinics and open-house forums for students.
To an extent it might be possible to accuse Ricky of genericism in his campaigning. However, the sheer amount of “small” promises that McCormick has put forward has to be lauded. There are no sweeping reforms in McCormick’s manifesto, but he does seem to have a lot of answers to the questions raised by the other candidates. While he has adopted his characteristic jocular style of argumentation in the text of his manifesto, his campaign materials do not necessarily set him apart from the other candidates in any meaningful way. If Ricky is going to argue for the “important”, simple and elegant promises like financial transparency then he is going to have to take his own advice and remember “we’re not in North Korea, lads.”
Of all the candidates, as a drama student and an experienced debater, McCormick probably has the most obvious skills as a salesman of his ideas. He should not be afraid to infuse his natural humour into his pretty reasonable and uncontroversial solutions to Students’ Union problems. He has a real opportunity to own the middle ground of a race that is going to polarise a lot of opinion.
Matthew Taylor’s unique strength is the visual dynamism of his campaign materials. The mock newspaper style of his leaflet and his use of a logo in the form of a pair of heavy-rimmed glasses are certainly going to command attention during the hectic days of campaigning. However, Taylor’s content is, in my opinion, going to be something of an issue for discerning voters.
On the University Times side of things, Taylor wants to combat the perceived issue of editorial independence in the paper by removing the position of editor and charging an “editorial board” with the day-to-day running of the paper. The editorial board will be comprised of members with “design and journalistic experience” and will replace the current system of sub-editors.
There is a degree of ambiguity about this policy. It is not immediately clear how this board will be more independent than a traditional editorial team. Considering the fact that most editorial decisions are made by the editorial team as a collective which is already appointed by the editor, there is a real vagueness about what exactly the new editorial “board” will do differently. Will they, for example, also be elected by College’s students, under Taylor’s management?
Taylor also wants to make more of a spectacle of the Students’ Union’s ideas and message with Front Square meetings and soapbox debates. The basics of Taylor’s campaign are no doubt quite interesting and strong. His plan to reform the editorial structure of the paper is definitely going to be a talking point in this election. However, Taylor is going to have to shore up the gaps in a manifesto that does not give much away in terms of arguing for his policies. Much like Gavin, he has a lot of selling to do to make his message a bit more concrete.
Either I received a rough draft of Curtin’s manifesto, or he is breaking new ground and will be handing out A4 sheets with promises formatted in Microsoft Word 2010’s default settings. If the finished product is anything like his poster, it will look swell, and will probably be dashingly maroon-themed.
Curtin notes that, because all students pay the same registration fee, all should be able to avail of the same library services. Health sciences students in St James’s hospital using the John Stearne Medical Library do not, Curtin suggests, have the same opportunity, due to shorter library opening hours at that location. It is not an entirely sound argument, since health sciences students cost College more money on average than arts students as they have more elaborate facilities, more equipment and more contact hours. To my mind, it makes perfect sense that there should be longer library hours available to those whose coursework is entirely based on written assessment while those who have elements of practical examination and labs are offered facilities which are appropriate and proportional to their needs. That said, each education candidate promises more library hours for the John Stearne, so either one-all or nil-all to everyone on that count.
Curtin says that Christmas exams need to be brought to the fore as a matter of urgency, citing a resounding vote in favour of them by the student body in 2010. The same problem arises with a promise by Leahy on this issue: the education officer’s ability to influence College’s decision in relation to this – especially seeing as it would entail high costs for College and difficult changes to a rigid College calendar – is highly questionable.
On the subject of exchange programmes, Curtin anecdotally notes that while completing an internship over the summer (well done, Curtin), he was surprised at the number of students who had worked with multinational companies. He hopes to achieve change “through collaboration with the Global Partnership and Mobility team in Trinity” and says that there is “no reason” that placements abroad and exchanges such as Erasmus should not be available to more students in the health sciences and engineering. There are, I would hazard a guess, more than a few obstacles (financial and organisational among them) to overcome before this could become a reality. Curtin also neglects to explain why this issue is particularly important, or how it would improve the educational experience of Trinity students.
On a related note, Curtin comments that the “possibility of more practical work in many courses needs to be discussed”. He does not elaborate on which courses might warrant changes in assessment, how this would be assessed, or how such change would be effected.
On the issue of entry to College, Curtin applauds Trinity’s new pilot scheme which takes other factors as well as CAO points into consideration in a student’s application. Curtin espouses a this-far-and-no-further approach to the registration fee, stating that we must be “prepared to fight our corner” on the issue of university fees. Again, Curtin does not elaborate on why he believes that third-level education should list highly on the nation’s priorities.
Finally, Curtin proposes to do on-location clinics with students in the Arts Building, the Hamilton and locations outside of College, with a particular emphasis on establishing a presence in Trinity Hall for the first months of Michaelmas term so that junior freshmen can easily consult with the education officer.
If you are new to this whole Students’ Union election thing, Jack Leahy’s offering represents the quintessential manifesto, with all the pros and cons entailed by that: an unnecessary array of fonts, a picturesque background shot of the Campanile on the inside of the leaflet, a small attempt at humour based on the physical appearance of the candidate, some detailed promises and, for balance, some completely unexplained ones. The meatiest parts of the manifesto are four sections called “Employable skills”, “MyCourse, MyFeedback” (drawing on the, ahem, “success” of my.tcd.ie), “The library service that you need”, and “Christmas exams for those who need them” (presumably gleaning inspiration from The Simpsons’ oft-quoted “abortions for some, miniature American flags for others”).
The first section begins on a glum note: the “bright, idealistic, interesting, hardworking” young people of Trinity are being told by unidentified, malign voices that “we are not good enough”. With graduate unemployment apparently looming, Leahy promises to arrange a series of seminars which will provide students with skills which make them attractive to employers: “Vote Jack Leahy for education and you could soon be enhancing your CV with a certificate of mastery in project leadership & management, design, coding 101, PR, crisis management, advanced Excel, and everything else you need.”
I am a little unconvinced that a certificate issued by someone my own age about my proficiency in computer programming will make me as attractive as, say, the thousands of graduates with full-time degrees in each of those areas, who – Leahy has already noted – are unemployed and job-hungry. I am sure Leahy will say that he plans to bring in experts in each field; but how will they be paid? How many seminars will I have to attend to get my certificate? If only a few, then is it really worth anything? And if I have to attend seminars all year, would I not be better off having picked computer science rather than English, instead of attempting to fudge my way into coding with an unaccredited certificate?
The next section proposes to introduce an online resource where students will (presumably out of the goodness of their little hearts) upload their experiences of their course so that students in other years can learn from their mistakes, pick the right options for the senior sophister year, and so on and so forth. It is a fairly inoffensive policy which aims to technologise existing, untapped human knowledge. However, it is unclear how Leahy would incentivise enough people to contribute to the site so that it would become a genuine go-to resource.
The obligatory library section goes as one would expect: uncompromising demands for extended library opening hours. Yet, most hopeful education officers (and many would-be presidents) have little success on that count. Every year, Michaelmas term begins with limited hours: some students are affected but there’s no groundswell for change. As pressure mounts with schols and end of year exams in Hilary term, the opening hours extend a little, only to revert to form once again at the beginning of the following term. College has a limited amount of resources which are under pressure from various directions. Since the tired old demands do not seem to work, why does no candidate offer innovative solutions for keeping the library open? We could fundraise from students and alumni for a ringfenced donation to the library in order to extend opening hours. Hopefully candidates will differentiate themselves from one another on the issue during the course of the campaign.
Christmas exams have been another staple of the education manifesto in recent years. Here, Leahy promises to launch a review of schools and faculties (every school, and every faculty?) in order to ascertain which need Christmas exams, and then to lobby for that change. Again, the education officer has no direct authority to implement changes and can only represent the views of students to College committees. It will be up to College if and when they do implement Christmas exams, and whoever happens to be holding the role of education officer at the time will undoubtedly claim a lot of kudos for it, but I am unsure how much they will be able to quicken that process.
Tebay’s (or T-eBay, as in the online auction site, as his manifesto lamely jokes) pamphlet may – if Curtin’s final version doesn’t blow him out of the water – win the prize for worst choice of portrait background colour. I mean, Christ; who signed off on that muddy grey abyss? It is not the communications race, so design faults will be taken for the hilarious but unimportant fact that they are.
In explaining what the education officer does, each candidate implicitly puts different emphasis on different parts of the role. Tebay’s priorities are casework, committees and class reps, which, if he ranks them in that order, seems pretty reasonable. From speaking to the current education officer earlier this year, the role seems to be largely concerned with catering to the educational needs of individual students, and justifiably so.
His introductory text is pretty welcoming – “Hi guys! My name’s Eric!” – but his photo could hardly make him look less comfortable in greeting the 16,000-strong student population. In case you have not been getting incessant notifications on Facebook for the past week which begin “Eric Tebay posted in Science Ball 2013…”, Tebay’s “Experience” section promptly notes that he was the head organiser for the Science Ball this year. Since this year’s education officer, Dan Ferrick, also held this position, the Science Ball could be considered a kind of Republican nomination to the education race. Although Tebay lists enough Students’ Union boards and committees to make Mary Davis jealous, it makes for pretty dry reading, especially since the relevance of such experience goes unstated.
Tebay attempts to make his policies memorable by beginning each of his five promises with a different letter of his surname: “Transparency” is, apparently, as simple as setting up a Facebook page. “Exams Skills Week” – aside from the problem of there already being too many essentially meaningless weeks – seems unnecessary given that study and exam skills workshops are constantly being provided by College (just check your Trinity email inbox).
“Better library services” reads just like the other candidates’ promises on the same issue, and is just as unconvincing as to how the education officer would be instrumental in achieving such aims. “Assessment of modules” claims that a one-size-fits-all survey system should replace departmental appraisal – logistically daunting, if not impossible given the diverse methods and structures of Trinity’s schools – and that this will inevitably lead to an improved educational experience, somehow. The “You” section is, thankfully, more realistic and believable. Curtin also puts an emphasis on casework, but I am much quicker to believe that Tebay’s shy-seeming self would make him an approachable guy to talk to when you are having trouble with your work.
On policies, I give each candidate a well-earned two-and-a-half out of ten. It is true of political campaigns in general (and it applies equally to such astoundingly local elections as these) that the character of the candidate – or how that character is constructed in their communications – has far more to do with their chances than their aptitude or plans for the job. For some, the charming innocence of Tebay’s “eBay” joke will be more attractive than the practiced rhetoric of Leahy’s policies. To others, Curtin’s failure to meet Trinity News’s manifesto deadline will strike a chord with those who have been in the same situation in their academic career, and want an education officer who understands them. Decide for yourselves.
Shot in front of College’s old Rubrics, wearing maroon trousers, Stephen Garry’s election portrait gives a sense of a campaign seeking to draw on both continuity and innovation. Garry emphasises his experience in welfare provision in College and his intention to build on previous campaigns while outlining his vision for a number of new initiatives, including online support and a “Labels are not for People” campaign.
Having served as welfare officer for Trinity Hall’s Junior Common Room committee and as president of the Student to Student (S2S) committee, his manifesto focuses on the need for a collaborative approach to welfare and is commendable for its stated intention to draw upon both College’s support services and student societies with marketing strategies that will increase the visibility of mental health campaigns.
Garry is undoubtedly an experienced candidate but, in reality, his manifesto reads much like those of previous candidates for the office. Given recent reductions in the maintenance grant as well as hikes in the student contribution charge, one would expect more political issues to feature in his election promises. Instead, the only mention of student hardship is in relation to the fundraising and free food with which he intends to deal with students’ financial difficulties.
The money-making Trinity’s got Talent competition will surely attract crowds and raise a laugh, but in light of those cuts in education and mental health, his manifesto seems a little safe and uncritical. For those students in the medical, nursing and cultural areas facing unprecedentedly difficult workplaces and unpaid internships, the word “equality” – that unfulfilled promise that led and drove them through third-level education – stings like never before. These are the realities Garry needs to address, the reality his new “Equality Week”, focused solely on “diversity”, needs to question and probe.
Student welfare is of course tied not only to financial and economic matters. In this regard, Garry’s credentials are impressive. His society positions and involvement in College-wide campaigns, including the wide-reaching “It’s alright not to feel ok” online initiative, are testament to a student with considerable experience in supportive and promotional roles. His identification of accommodation as one of the most common problems facing students speaks to that experience. Similarly, his encouragement of feedback and “Welfare Skype” are to be welcomed for aiming to improve the office’s efficiency and visibility.
This focus on collaboration, visibility and slick marketing will greatly benefit whatever campaign Garry intends to launch. His experience and training in mental health services are also of vital importance. It is nonetheless unfortunate that those campaigns listed in his manifesto fail to seriously address the marginalisation faced by increasing numbers of hard-up students.
Sean Reynolds, the former ents officer of DU Fish Soc and one of many who, it seems, signed the solemn league and covenant that established the society, plans to reinvent Trinity Ents. How?
Firstly, more live music. He plans to “organise a concert in a campus venue featuring major acts each month for Trinity students.” This idea is not new, but actually implementing it – well, that would be. Similarly with the promise of new club nights. Reynolds also wants better club nights, without the “profit motive” of private promoters. Collaboration with societies and international DJs, as well as new festival-style events all get a mention. But will they be able to compete with the runaway success of this year’s universally-acclaimed Warehouse parties? A hard act to follow, no doubt, but Reynolds says he has the experience to deliver on his promises. And, looking at his Fish Soc credentials, he might be right. But it is a different role, a different crowd and a different budget, so he will have to be adaptable.
Reynolds promises an ents forum consisting of social secretaries and class reps, support for individual projects, a directory of ents contacts and help for those planning trips away. His ents office would largely act as a facilitator for others: a welcome change for many, I am sure.
On the cover of his manifesto, Cameron Macauley points a limp finger towards the future of ents. His slogan is “the party cannot stop”, and in keeping with this he has a full seven-day lineup of new club nights. Though it might seem unlikely that there would be enough interest to support events every night, Macauley studies business, so we can assume he has this worked out. Nevertheless, the frequent mentions of NV on Leeson Street might raise some eyebrows.
Macauley plans to spare no expense in providing quality entertainment and promises to centralise more power around the ents executive. He acknowledges that this may be detrimental to other organisations and figures like the provost and “Debate Soc”. He wants to provide more transparency (those playing the Students’ Union drinking game, drink now) by keeping in contact with the other sabbatical officers in person, through Facebook and by text. This seems to be an achievable aim, and an original one too, not appearing in any other manifestos.
He would rather dispense with democracy in the Students’ Union, but would maintain a policy of being “sound to people who are sound to me.” A good policy, no doubt.
Other miscellaneous policies include nerd alarms (an increasing necessity these days), “deals for the weak [sic]”, a mystery tour to Prague, Mumford (the sons are more or less superfluous, anyway), and screenings of the film Fast and Furious. With Trinity apparently having one of the country’s most active Fast and Furious
appreciation societies, Macauley might have a good enough voting base to win this one.
If it is indeed a full manifesto and not a flyer that I have been given, then Cian Mulville would seem to be a man of few words. Clearly he remembers Polonius’s advice to his son, that “brevity is the soul of wit”, and so has provided only one page containing six points.
Point one: nightlife. Weekly events, “big acts”, no more than €5. Standard stuff, really.
Point two: match-day events. “Campus festivities” to coincide with sporting events. We might not have a 100,000 capacity stadium like our American friends, but there is no reason why we cannot drink cans by the sideline while watching some rugby in College Park. Perhaps Mulville has even bigger plans up his sleeve: marquees, face-painting, cheerleaders, marching bands; who knows?
Point three: non-alcoholic events. Five-a-side and Fifa competitions, and deals for ice-skating and cinemas. A large five-a-side league would certainly offer an easier alternative to the miserable trek to Santry for Trinity’s Megaleague games. By favouring Fifa, he has run the risk of alienating a passionate minority of PES supporters, but at least now we know Mulville is no fence-sitter.
Point four: fundraising. This means proceeds of designated ents nights going towards the student hardship fund, as well as free tickets to raise money for societies. This will be good for all concerned, provided of course that anyone goes to this club night and it makes a profit.
Point five: transparency (drink!). Mulville will have an independent team publish monthly accounts. Sounds good, but I wonder whether MCD will be so keen on this one when it comes to ball time.
Point six: Halls buses. That is, free buses back to halls after a night out. It would be more eco-friendly (and hilarious) to provide a fleet of bicycles, but I suppose the buses are more practical.
Conor Gleeson, or Smeesh, has a five point plan (with some additional points after) for his ents campaign. He promises a 36-hour library, though his explanation of this policy is nothing more than a plan to move the Students’ Union accounts to the Cayman Islands. Point two is about improving the Pav; Smeesh has heard the calls for more awnings, and will provide them alongside patio heaters and new, sounder barmen. Whether the Pav needs a revolution like this, or just some simple improvements, is a debate that has continued since the days when Ed Burke drank his Bav there.
Mystery tours with one-way tickets (so the mystery doesn’t end when you get there), a brick-by-brick relocation of Trinity Hall, and a “shteal of the week” round out the five point plan. The latter includes hiding spaces for those not willing to pay to see the Coronas at this year’s ball again.
Some other miscellaneous policies: dead artist holograms (what are the deceased equivalent of the Coronas?), more snow days, a new methadone clinic and ploughing championships on the cricket pitch. That last idea is certainly something new. There is no need to waste good turf on hitting balls with sticks, now, is there?