“Let’s run for Entz,” they said. “It’ll be fun,” they said. Like all Entz Reps, we blindly ran for the role under the impression that it would be a glamorous lifestyle of free bop juices, rep cards, and Bridge queue jumps. Now three bops, four A&E trips, and 170 litres of spirits down the line, it’s probably a good time to reflect on how well the position has lived up to its expectations.
For those not clued up on JCR electoral practices, most Entz teams run for election as a slate of four. There is a complex distribution of duties that is unique to each and every team, though it usually runs along these lines: Rep One does nothing. Rep Two does nothing. Rep Three says he’ll pick up club tickets, though actually does the same as Reps One and Two. Rep Four does the remaining duties. If you’re reading this as an Entz Rep and are unsure which one you are, you’re probably one of the first three.
Entz Reps tend to fall into two main categories: firstly, there are those that liked clubbing a bit too much in first year. These are the type of people whose mates from home ask about them with genuine concern. The second category of Reps weren’t the biggest clubbers, though still love a drink – they’re essentially alcoholics in training. Needless to say, neither of these groups are renowned for their organisation skills, dedication to their job, or general ability to function before 5pm in the afternoon. In many ways they are actually the worst people to be dealing with premises licensing, fire evacuation plans, and industrial quantities of hard spirits. Sober Entz Reps are about as common as constructive Oxfeuds.
Despite being wholly unprepared for what is expected of them, Entz Reps find themselves forced to rise to the role, or at least one of them does. They aren’t motivated by an innate desire to do the best job that they can, but largely by the fear of the angry mob if they don’t. Bops are one of the few bits of JCR business on which everyone has an opinion. This is not helped by the fact that each person has a different idea of what a decent bop should be (please bear this in mind when you’re screaming in my ear that the playlist is crap halfway through the night). The sleepless nights spent worrying whether that transition from ‘Man’s Not Hot’ into ‘Africa’ will work are not only unappreciated, but not even noticed once everyone is off their face.
For Entz Teams that can be bothered to sell club tickets, the journey to the promoters is among the least glamorous parts of the job. After being continually harassed with passive aggressive Facebook messages, you eventually cave and go to do the pickup. From the moment you step into “the office” (the table in the corner of The Lighthouse), your eyes start to water from the smell of stale tobacco. It immediately begins to feel like something of a twisted episode of Dragon’s Den, in which the five puffer-coat wearing dragons must convince you that ‘Pounded Thursdays’ at JT’s is a worthwhile investment (hint to any incoming Entz teams: it’s not). They’ll subtly enquire to whether you have a formal on Friday, a cunning ploy to try and offload that pile of ‘Retox at Fever’ tickets no one has touched. You then proceed to gently let them down by telling them that no one really likes going to Fever. You still take some of the wristbands anyway, partially out of pity, but more so because you just can’t deal with the confrontation in your hungover state.
The night of a bop (or the entire weekend if you’re an Entz rep) is where the anxiety really gets into gear. The holy grail of bops are those held at external venues like Plush, where there’s no clean-up or any sort of real responsibility – these are for Entz teams with budgets the size of the US defence programme. They’re able to enjoy a carefree night, comfortable in the knowledge that they aren’t liable for anything that goes wrong. Meanwhile, those at the bottom of the bop hierarchy spend their evening running around with wet floor signs and bin liners full of plastic cups in their college’s function room. These rooms were designed for symposiums on sustainable development, not 100-strong mosh pits to ‘Feed ‘Em to the Lions’. The sound of smashing glass soon imparts the same level of dread as that fog horn sound from a Christopher Nolan film. Most of the evening is spent looking out longingly from behind the bar, wanting to join your mates on the dancefloor and wondering why you signed up to do this. You go home completely exhausted and disheartened, and the only pull you get is on the plunger – trying to dislodge bits of vomit from the clogged toilet U-bend at 2am.
All of this would make you not want to touch the role with a bargepole. However, despite all of the chaos, cleaning, and chunder, it still manages to be a fair bit of fun. Once you accept that no matter how good of a bop you throw there will always be complainers, it’s possible to stop stressing out and enjoy yourself a bit. Accidents do happen, but Reps are likely to have caused their fair share of carnage also. It’s almost as though those that become Entz Reps are giving back to the community for their own drunken mistakes. They may not be the best people for the job, or even remotely competent, but you’ll struggle to find a group of people more willing to sacrifice their degrees in the name of a good time – and for this, at least, they deserve a little bit of recognition.