In the final council meeting of Semester 1, a concern was raised over the cost of adding a sixth sabbatical officer to the Students’ Union: the proposed return of the Entertainments Officer. UCDSU President Barry Murphy, explained that this was “something that the Constitutional Review Group really talked long and hard about. We see this role as almost, possibly paying for itself … in that, they’d be bringing in more sponsorship, so that would bring in revenue.”
Fundraising and bringing in sponsorship through Union events will be a significant part of the role of the Entertainments Officer. “They’d also be responsible for our year long fundraising efforts with our chosen charities. So they would be bringing in revenue for the charities that our Union Council will have selected, which I think in the long run, will raise revenue through sponsorship and fundraising for other causes.” In the discussions among the Constitutional Review Group, before the proposed constitution was brought before council, Murphy says that “we would have looked at our current opportunities to bring in revenue and sponsorship for different events and just for the work of the union. Our main sponsor this year is EY…but currently the resources we have in attaining that sponsorship are limited in that we have one individual, our Events and Marketing Manager. We see that by adding this role, it actually increases the man power, for want of a better term, in achieving that sponsorship.”
Outlined in the proposed UCDSU constitution, the Entertainments Officer “shall be ultimately responsible for the organisation, coordination and running of entertainment events for members…[and]…They shall recruit the Entertainments Forum and relevant entertainment volunteers. They shall convene and chair meetings of the Entertainments Forum.”
Speaking to current Campaign & Communications Officer Tom Monaghan about his experiences with Entertainments in UCDSU, he said “I joined ENTS as a member of the ENTS Crew…. As an ENTS Crew member I was regularly in the SU Corridor and bouncing ideas off our events manager. I attended, organised, and participated in 90% of all ENTS events that occurred in First Year…I would not have had a huge amount of responsibility as a member of the ENTS Crew, it was mainly idea generation and helping run the events and making sure that they run smoothly.”
As it stands in the current Union constitution, the Campaigns & Communications officer is responsible for chairing the Entertainments forum. They are also required to sit on the interview board with the current President, President-elect, Campaigns and Communications Officer-elect and Entertainment and Events Manager, to “conduct interviews and make selections” on members of the Entertainments Forum. Exceptions to this include the First Year Promotions Officer and the Entertainments Crew Coordinator, as both those role are to be filled by students who are currently registered as Stage One of an undergraduate programme of study. The proposed constitution alters the election procedure of the Entertainments Forum to mirror that of the Campaign Coordinator elections in the final council meeting of Semester 2.
Monaghan, who was previously a First Year Promotions Officer, explained that his role was “essentially using my skills that I had acquired as a class rep in liaising with groups of first years, telling them all about ENTS, letting them know what events were occurring and when, promoting the events in various other ways, selling tickets and much more.” He further recalled his responsibilities as ENTS Crew Coordinator, “the role was all about recruiting students to be on the ENTS Crew, motivate the students to stay involved and generate ideas, bring them out on the session and empower them to work to the best of their ability. The highlight of that period was definitely having full creative control over Christmas Day which turned out to be a huge success.”
Murphy believes students will not simply vote for their friends to be elected to either forum as he states “if you look at our current 6 filled campaign coordinator positions, 5 of those individuals actually are not class reps last year. They were giving speaking rights at council, they were elected by council but were not actually part of it. A lot of them were unknown to the Union Council, before they put themselves forward for election.”
Once elected, the Entertainments Coordinators will have seat at Union Council, and thus be required to attend council meetings. Coordinators will have a vote on the motions brought forward to council, and will be held to account by the members of the council itself. When asked if he felt that this might alienate certain students who have little interest in the workings of council and who are just interested in running events, he said “entertainments and the political wing of the Union were always intertwined. To give an example, back in the early days of the Union, Union Council and nights out were held together. The likes of Christy Moore would have played at Union Council, and the Council itself would have been held at the student bar…It would be important to have those voices there and Union Council can only thrive in that environment, where you have people who are really politically minded and then you have individuals who are very into the entertainments…not that Entertainments would be a campaign, but it would be a specific need for the student body and that would be to enjoy their college experience.”