A Trinity News Life interview with Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) Environment Officer Thomas Emmet has highlighted that the Junior Common Room (JCR) Committee is missing an elected environmental representative. JCR President Sara Loughlin has told Trinity News that other moves are being made in the meantime to support the environment but that an officer won’t be elected until next March.
The issue of a JCR Environment Officer was raised at an open forum event at the end of Hilary term 2016, where one Trinity Hall resident raised that such a position should be appointed. This was voted on and passed with a majority to be included in the JCR constitution; however this year’s committee has not set up elections. Instead, they have chosen a member of their Welfare Committee to cover environmental issues. This committee is neither elected or linked to the JCR committee.
In the interview, Emmet raised the issue because “the Graduate Students’ Union (GSU) are introducing an environmental officer position very soon, which is great to hear, and I think it’s important that a similar position be created at Trinity Hall. They make a large contribution to College’s overall waste and that’s something I feel strongly about tackling. Because it’s most people’s first experience living away from home, it’s the ideal opportunity to build healthy habits…I’m looking to [bring this] to the JCR’s attention.”
This week, the GSU is holding interviews to elect a GSU Environmental Officer. Speaking to Trinity News, GSU President Shane Collins said this was arranged after an open consultation found postgraduate students wanted an environment representative which would be equivalent to Emmet’s SU position. GSU President Collins has said “It’s a new position, we only passed the introduction of an environmental officer at our AGM this year and I’m delighted we will have someone championing in this area by the end of the business day on Tuesday.”
JCR President Loughlin argued that the current committee couldn’t follow this GSU precedence because the forum in which the Environmental Officer was mandated “took place last year, so it was up to last year’s committee to implement this and unfortunately this did not happen. It is up to us and our committee to elect this year’s Environmental Officer, which we will be doing in March as there is only one election period a year and this must be elected democratically.”
Loughlin also outlined that her committee is enforcing many environmental initiatives and reports that the Halls community has demonstrated a strong interest in environmental issues. “In our short time serving as the JCR we helped in an environmental clean up of Temple Road with some of our Halls residents. Our priority at present is ensuring that our new residents settle in well to Halls life, and we have decided to elect an environmental team as a step forward in encouraging residents to actively participate in taking care of the environment within Halls and then, in the forthcoming months, to encourage them to run for the position of Environmental Officer during the election period in March.” Loughlin also vouched her strong support for all environmental initiatives and policies in college and intends to “include the environment in our aims given the unfortunate lack of an environmental officer this year.”