From Jennie: As a fifth-year student, and the current president of the OutRegis! Improv Troupe at Regis University, I’ve had the most amazing opportunity of watching many students grow from their freshman year to their final year here at Regis. Although there have been many factors that change the homesick, nervous, uninvolved freshman in OutRegis! into the leaders that so many of them have become, one of the main contributors has been performance on campus – something I know from experience.
In 2008, my first year at Regis University, I was the archetype shy, uninvolved, even depressed freshman. Since I didn’t live on campus, I had a difficult time getting to know any other students, and was clueless as to how to get involved. My savior was a friend I had made in high school (through a theater program), who suggested that I attend a new group on campus called “OutRegis!”. At the time, OutRegis! was a group of 5 students that got together, talked about issues on campus, and found ways to perform those issues with the hope of change.
My first performance on campus was during Peace and Justice Week, where my friend and I dressed in orange jumpsuits covered in ways students oftentimes label each other, such as “slut,” “loner,” or “anorexic,” and carrying chains, symbolizing how labeling others or ourselves imprisons us. Simply the experience of walking across campus, caring only for communicating a need for change, rather than caring about my own insecurities as an individual was, to this day, one of the most empowering experiences at Regis University.
Since that time, I embraced being a core part of OutRegis!, became involved in leadership within the group, as well as taking on other leadership positions at Regis, such as becoming a TA, and taking on and helping create the position of Writing Center Liaison to encourage its use in the Writing Analytically classes. Now, in my fifth year, I’ve taken over OutRegis! Improv, and can see retrospectively how involvement in that group helped me out of my shell, encouraged me and taught me how to interact with my peers successfully, and gave me the sense of community nothing else on campus, to this day, has been able to grant me.
Theater is what propels individuals in service toward others. I can claim this not only in my own experience of theater at Regis University, but based on every other student that is part of the OutRegis! Improv Troupe. After supporting the freshman as a part of the OutRegis! family through the first year and ensuring their survival, I have had the pleasure of watching every single one of them, by their sophomore year, become involved in leadership either within OutRegis! or somewhere else on campus. These students’ involvement in theater has allowed them to be competent, confident individuals with powerful voices able to both lead and help others, fulfilling the Jesuit mission of “men and women in service of others.”