Olivia Orr, a Junior Sophister PPES student, is one of three candidates running for the position of Entertainment (Ents) Officer for the 2023-2024 Trinity College Dublin Student Union (TCDSU). The officership is in charge of running all student functions throughout the year from Freshers Week to Trinity Ball and everything in between.
During her second year, Orr served as the JCR Ents officer and is now currently serving as the Treasurer for TCDSU’s Ents Committee. This experience, she believes, is what sets her apart from other candidates: “All extracurricular college activities are to do with Ents. I know the admin so well, but not only the admin like I know the inner workings of the rest of the Student Union. I know the people that I need to be speaking with, like higher college executives in the Student Union, administrative officers and stuff like I’ve worked with them for two years.”
I know the people that I need to be speaking with, like higher college executives in the Student Union, administrative officers and stuff like I’ve worked with them for two years.
Orr’s campaign is centred around three main concerns: accessibility, sustainability, and safety. In her manifesto, Orr promises to include officers within Ents that will pay particular attention to these issues. Speaking to Trinity News, Orr says that “we need people whose sole purpose [in planning] is to be thinking about students welfare and whose sole purpose there is to be thinking about the accessibility of students and whose sole purpose there is to be thinking that we’re running events sustainably”. To Orr, this is how to start building the path to a more accessible, sustainable, and safer Ents.
To promote inclusion, Orr hopes to include new events such as a “Trinity’s Got Talent” competition that will highlight the work of societies or students: “We have so much talent on campus. I just think a lot of it isn’t shown [and] people only go to [society] events when they’re already interested in them.” Orr hopes that this event will promote cohesiveness on campus as well as introduce students to societies.
Orr has a particular focus on making Ents more accessible to all students. She hopes to include a series of daytime events to allow commuter students, mature students, or students who aren’t ready for or just don’t want the nightlife to be able to participate in Ents activities. According to Orr, Ents encompasses “all of that stuff just to make college I suppose look a bit lighter and a little bit less serious than only academic stuff. I think it brings a bit more community into college”. As well as making better use of accessible venues, Orr also promises to include the accessibility level of venues on all flyers going forward, provide earplugs at all events, host events at more accessible venues as well as on-campus venues such as Pav and the Buttery to make Ents more available to everyone.
According to Orr, Ents encompasses “all of that stuff just to make college I suppose look a bit lighter and a little bit less serious than only academic stuff. I think it brings a bit more community into college”
Orr puts a strong emphasis on the importance of student input and she plans to create a suggestion form where students can offer suggestions for events they would like to have happen and changes they would like to see in the future. This will be accessible via a QR link that will be posted around campus and linked on Ents Instagram as well as a suggestion box in House 6 she hopes to install for students who don’t use social media. She also hopes to introduce Ents office hours so students can go directly to her to discuss events or issues.
“Everyone’s obviously so separated by different courses in different years. But [Ents] is an opportunity for all the different students to get together”. By including events such as a “Trinity’s Got Talent” as well as daytime events, Orr believes, will make Ents events overall more accessible.
Orr also has many ideas to increase safety at future Ents events. All candidates have promised to begin providing cup protectors on nights out, but on top of that she will also be creating a QR report form and will put it in the bathrooms of all events where students can report “if anything has happened, discrimination, harassment, anything that people can report it immediately on that like it will be dealt with” in a manner of their choosing. It will also offer the option of anonymity, if that makes people more comfortable, but will always guarantee confidentiality. Another part of her safety initiative, Orr plans to work with the Student Union Welfare officer as well as her Ents Welfare officer to run training sessions during Freshers week and again as part of Refreshers week for Ents staff as well as students regarding nightlife safety. These sessions will include lessons in recognizing spiking and what to do if someone believes that their friend or they themselves have been spiked during an event or just while going out. This message will be repeated via email and with all graphics for all Ents events throughout the year.
Safety at events has always been of concern to Orr in her positions in JCR Ents and as Ents treasurer. “I always wanted to meet the managers [of venues] in person and I would always go 15 minutes before the rest of the committee and the rest of the people to introduce myself to the different workers. And just so security knew that they could come to me… they know that they can trust me to come to with issues”
Unlike her opponents, Orr plans to keep Trinity Ball on campus as opposed to moving it to another location and has begun work to ensure it stays on campus in her capacity as Ents treasurer.
A concern among voters will be Trinity Ball which will not be happening in its usual format on campus for the next few years due to the restoration of the Old Library. Unlike her opponents, Orr plans to keep Trinity Ball on campus as opposed to moving it to another location and has begun work to ensure it stays on campus in her capacity as Ents treasurer. She has begun discussions with the administrative officer, the chair of DUCAC (Dublin University Central Athletic Club), and the director of student services about potentially using the cricket pitch. Furthermore, she hopes to get a portion of funds brought in by visitation to the Book of Kells in the years that the Ball has to be modified to compensate for additional costs. She says it is “what we deserve as students.”
“Being a student,” says Orr, “I obviously know what the students want and from working and being such a large involvement with the committees, I also know how to give them what they want.”