While the introduction of a new breastfeeding pod in the Arts Block is welcome, it has been a long time coming. Despite Trinity’s long-held status as a breastfeeding-friendly campus, even the Director of Trinity’s Diversity and Inclusion admitted this year that “we just don’t have the facilities to breastfeed”. These spaces were first mooted in 2015 and the fact it has taken the College four years to implement it is indicative of where it lay on Trinity’s list of priorities. If our campus is to truly be a welcoming space, these changes can’t take so long.
For years, the most interesting part of the tobacco-free Trinity debate was that opposition was not delineated along political lines. Those on the right argued College should not regulate students’ lives, while leftists said it disfavoured working-class students. But now that Trinity has entered this new era, the rancour seems rooted in arguments concerning cost and practicality. At €36,000, smoke-free Trinity isn’t justifiable, dissenters say, and it’s impossible to actually stop people smoking. The point, though, is that this is a long-term project with eyes on the future. If it enacts a cultural shift in the campus’s relationship with tobacco, history will look fondly upon it.
The news that the construction of Trinity’s long-awaited purpose-built student accommodation may be delayed leaves students and the College on shaky ground. Will the rooms be ready for students at the start of term? Will the building reach occupancy if applications can only be opened later? One thing is for certain, though: if College wants the best outcome from this situation, it will have to keep students up to date at every stage of the process. Students won’t be signing up to live somewhere if they don’t know when they can move in.