The real guide to society life

It can be tough as a First Year during Freshers’ week. Before you know it you’ve spent €50 and joined a whole load of societies without knowing what they actually do. In this article, a weary and anonymous cynic offers a somewhat alternative opinion on some of College’s leading societies that will try to woo you this week.

It can be tough as a First Year during Freshers’ week. Before you know it you’ve spent €50 and joined a whole load of societies without knowing what they actually do. In this article, a weary and anonymous cynic offers a somewhat alternative opinion on some of College’s leading societies that will try to woo you this week.


Biological basically holds one event a year, but since this event is one of the most important in Trinity we can forgive them this. The Biological Association is in charge of Med Day, the one day a year where the medics of Trinity go out into the streets of Dublin, organise loads of events around campus and raise ludicrous sums of money. To give you an idea, in 2006 they raised over €90,000.

If you are studying Medicine then it’s obligatory to join, but being part of the overwhelming 500+ team that takes to the streets from 6.30am on the first Friday in November must feel great.

We think they might organise the Med Ball, but really anything else they do is over shadowed by this mammoth day. Don’t bother joining unless you’re a medic, but do give generously and join in the fun on Friday 7th November 2008.


People with little classical music training lament the fact the Trinity has four choirs: “four choirs? But they’re all just singing aren’t they?” The answer for the Choral Society is, probably not. And yet this bunch sells out the National Concert Hall, year after year. Conducted by a professional music instructor (the other, smaller and more talented, choirs in Trinity are led by fellow students) this choir seems to let anybody in Dublin join, Trinity ID or not, and it shows. But you’ve got to give them a hand for their ‘if you enjoy it, give it a go’ attitude, Although this becomes frustrating if you have experience in choral singing, the society is excellent if you enjoy singing major choral works. It’s crap if you are actually able to sing.

Food and drink

In many respects this is a great society – they’ve come leaps and bounds in recent years. Once a society which claimed to get you discounts at certain eateries in Dublin but really did nothing at all; now they are a society that offers far more. However, they may be facing a difficult financial year because putting on such food (and drink) based nights like pizza making, whiskey tasting and the giving away of high-quality cheese (members only) is expensive, particularly in these tough times.

If you really need a reason to dislike the society, you could perhaps hate them for causing the ban on cake sales (the Freshers’ Co-Op committee in Players are surely plotting some revenge now) last year when they arrived in the Arts Building armed with lots of messy food for a “Brunch give-away” (members only of course). This outburst of “fun” scared the powers that be in College and the sale/give-away of home-baked food products was banned. Last year’s committee realised the benefits of having a good website and won Best Website at the Society Awards in 2008. If you’re looking for a society where your commitment is left to your own leisure then this is definitely a society to join.


A type of society under debate, since the majority of these “subject societies” only organise nights out for their members, most of whom study the society’s subject. One wonders why these societies aren’t scrapped and taken over fully by the SU and Class Representatives.

Engineering Society falls into this category. No one knows what they do other than organise class parties and a trip away (which everyone admits is just a weekend away drinking). However this year sees a woman at the helm, so who knows what could happen. Maybe the Engineering Society could actually engage in activities relevant to Engineering? There is a first for everything.


These are the big wigs, the big boys, the main players. They claim highest membership numbers and can boast the biggest guests. One could argue that these societies break out of the bubble surrounding Trinity with their famous and sometimes controversial guests, who often attract attention from the outside media. If a celebrity is in town, the Phil or the Hist will bring them in for no real reason other than the fact that they can.

These societies have a long and important history, which they like to bore most people with, even if they didn’t ask. One of them likes to argue it’s the oldest undergraduate society in the world, the other claims to be the oldest paper-reading society in the world. But nobody really cares. In fact, not many people care about either of these societies, or their activities; except when there’s a famous celeb around.

And don’t be fooled by the minions working for the Phil and the Hist when they lie to you as you enter the Freshers’ fare – not everybody joins, it is not a rite of passage, and you will not be banned from their events because you are not a member.

These two societies are linked together because they’re basically the same society, and staggeringly unaware of how lucky they are. There are some societies as large as theirs, and just as active, who share rooms with two other societies, where there is no access during evenings and weekends. The Phil and the Hist, on the other hand, have a whole (rather large) building to themselves. This fact, along with both being particularly arrogant, narcissistic, and low-scoring on the “team player” front, means the other societies tend to look upon them with distaste, jealousy, and maybe, dare we suggest, loathing. They also think they are far more important than they are; relatively few in college care about the activities of societies in general, and there are even fewer who care about the activities of these “paper reading” societies.

However, the new committees are in for the 2008/9 session, and with them their comes the hope of change: a hope of more communication, that they are doing things for the students and their members instead of just themselves, and of fewer petty squabbles between the two of them. With a string of great guests already planned, it’s looking like an exciting year from the Phil and the Hist.

International Students

The surprise winners of Best Large Society at the Society Awards in 2008, this relatively unknown society has come from a long list of problems, mainly within its committee, who discovered, seeing the problems that come with assigning important committee positions to students who are only around for a semester but who decided nevertheless to change the whole way the society was run.

DUISS, as they are known, do exactly what they should: they take their members on trips to see Ireland and county Dublin, show people the city, and give international students advice for everyday life in a foreign country. They really work hard for their members, and it’s worth joining even if you’re not an international student as you will no doubt learn and see more of your home country than if you hadn’t joined.


Players have for a long time held a reputation for not letting outsiders in to their inner gang, and if you don’t spend your freshman years sucking up to the revered committee members you are unlikely to get any action from the plays. However, over the last year or two, Players have been trying to change this image and get the youngsters involved, and to get rid of this inner-clique idea. However, if rumours of pre-casting, and vitriol-filled AGMs (read: open-abuse-sessions) are to be believed then perhaps it is a little premature of us to suppose they have come this far.

Still, if you’re outlandish and fun you’ll probably score a part in the Freshers’ Co-Op, by far their biggest event and genuinely fun for audience and participants alike. Members get excellent discounts on all shows and events, so worth joining if that’s what you’re into. As an actor or director it will be hard to break into the circle without early involvement.

Science Fiction

Science Fiction Society has lost its way over the years: no one is really sure what it is supposed to do, but we are all pretty sure that they do lots of things, not all of it with much of a point, or related to Science Fiction in any way. It is run by a bunch of nerds who spend much of their time in their society room in House Six playing computer games and eating pizza. But don’t let this put you off – these guys are genuinely nice people and incredibly welcoming to new members. They can boast one of the largest book libraries of any society, and certainly the largest DVD and games libraries. They had a spot of bother a few years ago projecting illegal films in college to their members, but they’re back on the straight and narrow, and now it’s more about the Iron Stomach and their annual week long competition: Assassin. Through these events the society has also taken on the task of running RAG week (in no official capacity of course; that task is left to our able Student’s Union). They are the only society to run events and raise money: they alone raised over €2000, which is not to be scoffed at. But a lot of their events, such as an inter society football tournament, whilst fun and for-a-good-cause, really have nothing to do with Science Fiction. It’s one thing to be busy and active, but why call yourself “SciFi” if your most important events have nothing to do with that?

Conclusion: give it a go if you’re a movie fan, but other than that they have little else of substance to offer.


This society does exactly what it says on the tin, but unfortunately due to a scheduling crisis the size and regularity of the classes has changed. This is bad because lots of students want to learn yoga and the society want to give as many classes as possible, but due to Trinity running out of space they are just unable to. The society offers sessions of varying standards and tries to go on a yoga trip away – sounds peaceful.

Definitely give this society a go, but be warned you will have to turn up to classes at least half an hour before the session to get in, but on the plus side: after the stress of getting a spot you’ll have an hour to relax your mind and body.