On March 10, Trinity Action Films uploaded a documentary titled “Trinity College Social Policy Review” on YouTube. The film was produced by Trinity students who are participating in an internship called TrinityAction! The internship opportunity is being overseen by Visiting Lecturer in Film Studies Robert Brink. The documentary features interviews from several students, some of whom are part of the Student Task Force, as well as Dean of Students Frederick Alford.
The film is broken down into six sections: Irresponsible Drinking, Social Policy Forum, Social Changes, Party School Image, Student Task Force, and Moving Forward. In short, the film aims to chart the progression of student thinking regarding the Social Host Policy.
Rachael Burke ’14, a double major in Film Studies and Creative Writing, is part of the TrinityAction! internship, and participated in the film’s production. In talking to Burke about the documentary, she explained that Brink was looking for a group of passionate students to work on creating films to provoke discussion at Trinity.
According to Burke, the goal of the film is to “show the opinion of the Social Policy in general and then show what we think the social policy should really be about, which you can see by the end of the film.”
Burke, then described what she believes is the message of the film: “The social policy currently enacted is more of a drinking policy and what we do need is an actual policy that deals with the social issues at Trinity, like racism, homophobia, campus safety, and Trinity’s relationship with the Hartford community, all issues that need to be addressed way over the social policy.”
At the end of the documentary, Task Force member Bryan Farb ’14 explained that the issue of drinking is “probably like 100 on my list.” Farb believes that “student culture has a whole host of problems far more important than drinking.” Similarly, Annick Bickson ’13 believes “the problem is that the issues at Trinity are institutional. What Trinity’s Social Policy really needs to deal with is the social problems at Trinity, the interpersonal problems at Trinity.”
For Farb, other important aspects of his Trinity experience beyond drinking include classes, and relationships with professors, classmates, and friends. As Farb explains, “if you depend on an institution or on a culture to have a good time that’s a poor reflection on you, not the institution.” He believes that students should work with administration and each other, realizing that we all depend on one another for our well being.
In regards to outsiders watching the film, Burke believes “the video will show just how intelligent Trinity students are.” Describing the film as “impressive” and “thought provoking,” she believes that outsiders and prospective students will be impressed with the fact that Trinity students are willing to talk about and question an issue they are passionate about. On the other hand, she feels that some students “might be turned away,” and students “who want to go to Trinity because of the way it was before maybe shouldn’t be the students we are looking for.”
TrinityAction! is currently working on a second documentary on Campus Safety and plans to complete a third short film by the end of the semester. Trinity Action Films has also created a Facebook page called “Trinity Action-Films.” The film has been featured on “In the ’Cac,” in a blog post called “About that Social Policy.” The video received over 1,000 views the by the end of it’s first week on YouTube and the numbers continue to grow.