Ents race: Max Lynch wants to make sure that “everyone has a good time”

Lynch hopes to engage with every student by planning safe, accessible, sustainable and diverse events

Max Lynch, a junior sophister Computer Engineering student, is one of three candidates contesting the Entertainment (Ents) race, for a position on the 2022-23 Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) sabbatical team. The Ents Officer is responsible for organising social events for Trinity students, from the headliners like Freshers Week and Trinity Ball to everything that falls between.

Speaking to Trinity news, Lynch, who is captain of Trinity Surf Club, said he finds organizing events fulfilling and is running for Ents “to do it on a larger scale”. Having organised trips around and outside of Ireland, along with “countless nights out”, Lynch believes that the role is not only one he’s qualified for, but something that he would also enjoy. He emphasised the network he’s established, saying he is familiar with the scene in Dublin and is confident in his connections with both venues and student societies. As well as his involvement with the Surf Club and College’s DJ society (DUDJ), Lynch founded a sustainable clothing brand. He cited this experience as great preparation for the role of Ents officer in areas such as time management and working under pressure.

“Return to nightlife in Ireland has devastatingly led to an increase in spiking cases”

Like his opponents, Lynch’s campaign centres around a few key subjects: sustainability, safety, accessibility and variety. As the coming academic year suggests a more normal calendar of events, the elected Ents officer will be tasked with transitioning a student body that has experienced three academic years of Covid restrictions. Lynch claims to have an arsenal of ideas in preparation.

His manifesto notes that the “return to nightlife in Ireland has devastatingly led to an increase in spiking cases”. Lynch has stressed Ents’ responsibility to minimize the risk Trinity students face, and plans to offer free information sessions during Freshers week. “It’s important to educate these people who have been locked up through a very formative year of their life how to safely go out and enjoy themselves just to ensure they’re not at risk,” he explained.

Lynch also plans to make Ents events as safe as possible by ensuring the Ents team has taken a “comprehensive course in first responder training”. He also discussed having a working relationship with any venue to guarantee security. He said: “There’s no Trinity Ents without a safe environment… It shouldn’t be a thing if we can’t ensure our students are safe.”

The candidate also told Trinity News about his ideas for improving the accessibility of Ents, so that every student can participate throughout the year. He suggested recharge tents at Trinity Ball, more inclusive venues, and a calendar of events that accommodates the variety of students in Trinity. Lynch also hopes to make Ents cater to off-campus students, including nursing, medicine, and Lir students. He explained that flexible hours and activities are key: “There’s an event out there for everyone and I think that’s the most important part of Ents.”

Lynch’s campaign promises a broader program of events, to reflect the diversity of students’ interests. Acknowledging that the average Ents event won’t appeal to every student, he said: “Returning to normal isn’t returning to going out five times a week. There are people there who don’t like going out, and they need to understand that Trinity Ents isn’t about going to the club on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday.”

Lynch added that the “think-outside-the-box” mindset demanded by the pandemic has been informative: “It showed what Ents can do.” He hopes to draw on the successes of this year, including film screenings, live concerts, and the Pav Marquee. “There’s an abundance of talent at Trinity which I’d love to tap into,” he said.

Like Donnelly, Lynch hopes to offer more events that do not centre around drinking in order include more students. “Instead of ‘we’re in a pub drinking with [the Trad society],’ it should be ‘we’re in a pub listening to Trad, and my friend can have a pint if he likes,’” Lynch reasoned.

He added: “I think Ents just needs a shift in focus in terms of what it’s pushing. It should be pushing the talent of its students and its cooperation with its students.”

“I’d like to work with the Pav to try to reduce their single-use plastic”

Lynch stressed that his focus is squarely on students, saying: “without the students, Trinity Ents is pretty obsolete.” When asked to what extent TCDSU should engage in political issues, Lynch said “[The SU] should be representing all views of the students on campus. I don’t think the SU should be particularly one-sided on anything unless there is an obvious push for that across campus. Because at the end of the day, the SU shouldn’t be taking sides if there are three different sides on campus because they’re supposed to be representing all the students”. Lynch intends to engage in issues that have overwhelming, virtually unanimous support from the student body, such as sustainability.

Discussing his plans for making Ents more sustainable, as referenced in his manifesto, Lynch said: “I’d like to work with the Pav to try to reduce their single-use plastic…and push for the use of hard plastic cups,” adding: “If it’s beneficial to all the students, it’s more of a necessity.”

Asked how he would avoid the commercialisation of Ents, given the Union’s large deficit, Lynch said: “you have to break even,” but promised Ents events would be as cheap and as accessible as possible. Lynch pointed to his own business experience, and said that he would make events affordable through negotiating with venues and vendors.

Lynch also shared his ideas for the Ents calendar. For Freshers Week, he said: “I’d love to have some type of Freshers Ball – something a bit bigger – just to bring everyone together because Freshers Week is so packed full of events… I think we need one unifying event.” He also plans to host charity events in support of causes that students care about, such as the housing crisis.

The Ents candidate emphasised that he would not rely on his own ideas alone. Lynch discussed a system where societies could submit ideas for collaborative events to ensure that no one is “swept under the rug” when it comes to what events are held. This commitment to engaging with every student seems to be the crux of Lynch’s campaign. He said: “Maybe it’s because I missed out on so much of my college experience, but I really just want to make sure that everyone has a good time.”

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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