Ents race: Donnelly wants to create “better, safer and more accessible” events

The computer science & business student believes Ents should tap into the network of clubs and societies

Ross Donnelly is one of three candidates running for the position of Entertainments Officer (Ents) within next year’s Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU). Core to his manifesto is “safety, sustainability and a say in the next year of Trinity Ents”.

The Junior Sophister computer science and business student is involved with sailing inside and outside of College. As the current events officer for Trinity Sailing Club, he is responsible for planning college-wide social events. Donnelly

Having worked with sailing outside of college, Donnelly has continued this pursuit with the Trinity Sailing Club, where he currently holds the position of Ents officer on the committee. This role that involves planning college-wide socials as well as the wider Irish sailing community has given Donnelly appropriate experience for the role of ents officer. Outside of college, his responsibilities in sailing are teaching and coaching children, alongside helping them to pass their different sailing levels. On top of this, his work within Trinity’s St Vincent de Paul Society (VDP) highlights his passion for the role of ents. This year he is directing the VDP pantomime, which includes working with children as well as adults with learning disabilities that make use of the services provided by the VDP. Performing in the O’Reilly Theatre next month, the Panto is a well organised and popular event that is enjoyed by many, both inside and outside of college.

As ents officer, an objective of Donnelly’s is for everyone to enjoy themselves; he feels this can be achieved through covering all bases of student life, from daily events to nights out and everything in between. If elected, he wishes to host diverse ideas that will peak interest as well as including all of the student community. He believes that bringing “originality and creativity to the role is very key.”

Speaking to Trinity News in an interview and looking back over the past two years, Donnelly highlights how “your nights out and your social occasions have such an influence on your life in college”. His goal for Ents for the next academic year is to use the previously somewhat tarnished years due to COVID-19 as an opportunity to make the upcoming year better than ever. His wish is to make events “better, safer and more accessible” for all.

On top of these goals, Donnelly pushes the need for communication and connections; he highlights that “we are all looking for different things through Ents at Trinity. Ents has to respond to that”. It is his objective to push communication both ways and create a network with the variety of ents officers throughout college so that everyone’s voice is heard. If elected, he aims to circulate forms in order to hear from all societies and students so that the ents role isn’t an “echo chamber, but a two-way communication”. Communication is key to Donnelly, and he aims to work alongside a widespread team of other students in order to listen to the student voice and see what works and what doesn’t when it comes to planning events.

When asked about sustainability, Donnelly placed focus on plans he has for more sustainable nights out in the future. Speaking to Trinity News, he states “with Trinity’s population I think we can solve so many different issues”. As ents officer he would involve a variety of societies to bring ideas together in order to find a solution in terms of sustainability. He believes that “the solutions are out there, and they’re brewing in the student’s minds. Why not put them into action?” He also aims to be sustainable from the beginning, and has ensured that his campaign will be environmentally friendly through his recyclable business cards and the emphasis on the virtual element of campaigning. Looking ahead, Donnelly aims to work with clubs and pubs for future events to ensure sustainability in how they run Ents events.

“With Trinity’s population I think we can solve so many different issues”

Talking about accessibility and inclusivity, Donnelly aims if elected to make use of Trinity as a venue. Speaking to Trinity News about this objective, he believes that this “guarantees a level of accessibility that should already be established”. With a wide range of student spaces, Donnelly wishes to make full use of them; he states that “the Pav is only scratching the surface; it’s such a small area within college, yet look how much fun we can have with it”.

As an Ents officer, Donnelly would host a wide variety of events; this can be done through “hearing from all parties and trying to find the balance”. He wishes to reach all parties and facilitate a wide range of preferences. If elected, he has plans not just for nights out, but for events such as ‘Not So Dry January’, with emphasis being placed on more than just drinking events.

A core focus of his manifesto is safety. When speaking to Trinity News, Donnelly stated “A huge important thing to me is the safety and comfort of all my attendees. I don’t want to shove it off like a buzzword; it’s the core of my manifesto”. In order to combat current issues that can potentially occur on nights out, Donnelly plans for a team of trained and vetted individuals to be present at events for people to approach with any problems or concerns. On top of this, he wishes to make use of safe spaces within clubs that can be accessed for those that may need it. An idea he put forward was communication through the ticketing app; this way “people know the opening and closing times and when to book taxis for”. Donnelly also proposes the possibility of including buses in the ticketing charge to transport students back to Trinity Hall and campus after nights out so that safety is implemented from the beginning of the night to the end.

As ents officer, Donnelly told Trinity News of his wide range of potential plans for the upcoming academic year, from freshers week to Trinity Ball. Reflecting over the previous years, he believes that “there isn’t a ‘typical’ freshers week any more. Within the four years currently at Trinity, none of them have had the same type of freshers week, which puts us in a really powerful position to make it the best we can for the next year”.

When talking about the role of the TCDSU, Donnelly believes that in order to combat the sometimes distanced feelings that students may have from the Student Union, it is key to communicate effectively and create connections. He states that by bringing his personality to the SU he will be able to achieve this goal. He places emphasis on the fact that the members of the SU “are just another student like you and me”, and by realising this it can make everyone feel part of the Trinity community.

Campaigning for sabbatical officer elections will continue until March 3. Voting will run from March 1 to 3. Students have until noon on March 1 to register to vote.

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