The Struggles of Starting a New Society

Honey Morris explains the taxing process of pitching a society to the CSC, and to not have it pass approval

Trinity is home to a plethora of societies and anyone involved in these societies is no stranger to working with the Central Societies Committee (CSC). The CSC is the main committee that oversees the larger workings of the societies around campus. They handle allocating grant money, reviewing secretary reports, providing training, and all around ensuring TCD societies are up to running standard.

While they are in charge of existing societies, they also are responsible for approving or disapproving a new society proposal.

I was recently given the great opportunity to sit down with Zara-Grace and discuss her struggles in proposing a new society to the CSC, and the hard work that preceded her pitch.

While she only spoke to the board last year, the motivation of the pitched society dates back to online zoom classes during the shutdown from Covid-19. During online classes Zara discovered that there was more participation from women in online classes vs in person. From this discovery, in her own time she conducted research and concluded that this was not a phenomenon happening only in her course. That instead there was an increase in participation behind the screen.

With this insight, she began her journey to create a space to harness this wave of enthusiasm and continue to push for women to exercise and harness their skills in business (business meaning anything career/goal related). This space would lead to the creation of The Female Lead.

It did not start out as a large group, it was an idea that grew and grew. Zara recalls that when it was in the beginning stages and they simply had a google doc for people to sign up to join, “we were so overwhelmed with the responses of 100 plus girls being like ‘I want to help’.”

“Once the idea was promoted, it was met with overwhelming support from the female community”

From here they spent months researching and preparing to present their idea to the CSC. The Female Lead was to be a place to connect all of the resources for women inside and outside of Trinity. When reflecting on preparing for the pitch she says, “I couldn’t have done it alone; I needed the girls.”

During the process of preparing the pitch, those involved really started growing into themselves. There were members who were once quiet in the beginning, but were now sharing their own prompts and setting their own pitches. The development of the team behind the pitch was a success in and of itself.

“After we pitched it to the CSC I was on cloud 9 because something had already been accomplished,” Zara said. Women had already been encouraged, the momentum had been harnessed, and the space to practise taking initiative had been created. They met weekly to prepare for the pitch and create a brilliantly organised society.

“It was soul crushing when the society was not approved”

The Female Lead had been a project of years of hard work and diligent research and dedication. Like any other society it was designed to empower a group of people, and in this instance a specific minority as well. The group who had proposed this society had to come to terms with the fact that the CSC did not see a need for a society like this, and it was disappointing to say the least. Women deserve a place for their voices to be empowered and to have easy access to all of the resources available to them. Not only was this going to be a place for women to be empowered, it would have been a place for others to learn how to empower female voices.

Regardless of their hard work, it felt like it was set in stone that the society was already not going to get approval from the board. Without a formal reason given as to why the society was not approved, it was disheartening.  For Zara, this had been a project of years in the making, all beginning with her classes online during Covid. It is not an easy task to create a society of any kind, and the emotional toll it can take is brutal when there is not a light at the end of the tunnel. However, her hard work was not lost.

A separate group of women within Trinity sought to establish a chapter of The Women’s Network, and Zara was able to share her journey with them so that they could learn from the mistakes made with The Female Lead. She encouraged them to, “Celebrate the little wins,” and reminded them that even if it was not approved it was not their fault. The Women’s Network is now established and running within Trinity, which was news she was more than happy to hear about after the pitch was approved.  This is a great resource that you can learn more about on their instagram page @thewomensnetwork_tcd.