In Focus
Feb 28, 2024

Beth Strahan Vows to “Find the Voices” Being Ignored

Comms and Marketing candidate Beth Strahan emphasises how her theatre background has equipped her to reform the Union.

Ellen Duggan and Clara Roche
Photo by Bridget McBruiser for The University Times

When assessing the three candidates for the position of Comms and Marketing Officer, prospective voters may initially view final-year Drama and Theatre Studies student Beth Strahan’s lack of prior experience in the Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) as detrimental to her campaign. Strahan believes, however, that this external vantage point grants her a unique perspective from which to reform the Students’ Union and “find the voices on campus that are currently being ignored”.

Strahan confesses: “When I was thinking about the application process, I really was questioning why I have gone three-and-a-half years in Trinity and not engaged with student politics at all. It’s not because I’m not interested — I don’t feel that I have been reached.” 

Although prior Union experience is absent from her candidate profile, Strahan believes that her theatre background translates well in the competition she hopes to contend. “My job is to create a public-facing front”, she explains, citing her experience of managing casts and crews and building audiences as “very, very similar to the SU”. “My experience of theatre marketing means I know how to gauge my demographic”, she says of her time as Director of the Trinity Musical Theatre (TMT) musical. “Even if I have a product, like a musical theatre show, that does not appeal to the rugby lads, I can get them to come and I have gotten them to come.” 


The core concept of her campaign boils down to three words: “Where are you?” She says: “I cater my theatre to the masses, and that is how I would cater my communications.” To this end, she mentions improving transparency, accessibility and multilingual communications. 

While Strahan reserves high praise for her predecessors, in particular Aiesha Wong’s performance on social media, she hopes to build upon this by expanding the range of platforms the Students’ Union uses and improving accessibility within them. While Facebook may be dead and gone to Dubliners, Strahan takes an unusual line in advocating for its revival. “It may not get as much engagement, but at least we can say that we have it there for the people who use the platforms”, such as international students, she says.

She wants to make the Instagram account more accessible through improvements to the alt text and the inclusion of “audio files of all council meetings” to make the inner workings of the Union “digestible and engaging” to the students it represents. 

On this trend of transparency, Strahan says: “With the rise of misinformation that we’re seeing, it’s so important that the SU are held critically responsible for where they get their information.” While she acknowledges that the President serves as the face of the Union, she says “there are so many chefs in the kitchen” and she wants to make the decision-making processes of the Union more explicit. 

She describes the increased focus on the Irish language within the Students’ Union as “exciting”. As a Catholic in Belfast in a non-denominational school she was “never offered, on a familial level nor on a curricular level, the chance to learn the Irish language”, but since coming to Trinity she has “fallen in love” with it. 

She is eager to collaborate with the JCR “to encourage that engagement with the Irish language”. As the JCR is not mandated by the results of Students’ Union referenda, she recognises her responsibility to ensure equal priority is given to the Irish language in Halls. In Halls, she says, she has seen “people holding Irish language events” and “people speaking Irish in their flats”, and she wants to “open a channel of communication”. 

In the infamous weekly email, Strahan believes reform is needed. She references Wong’s recent inclusion of the phrase “if you’ve made it to the end of this email” as indicative of a problem. While she “love[s] a personal touch”, she says the use of the weekly email as a platform to spotlight societies and resources should not be underutilised. “All the candidates of this campaign are going to say that”, she acknowledges. “It’s just [about] who is actually going to change it.” 

She also wants to collaborate with postgraduate students to better platform their activities. “They are a step above us undergraduates in terms of knowledge”, she says, and she wants to better promote their events through regular conversation with postgraduate representatives. 

Towards the marketing half of the title she hopes to claim, Strahan says she wants to keep sponsorships “dynamic and consistent”, and points to the partnerships societies have established with restaurants near campus as inspirational.

Commenting on the loss of Domino’s as one of the Union’s main sponsors, Strahan says that while “you cannot dispute the success of that sponsorship”, she will prioritise securing partnerships that align with students’ “core values”.

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