USITT Student Chapters

USITT Student Chapter Formation Guidelines


What is a Student Chapter?

A Student Chapter is a group of peers, acknowledged by the national organization of USITT. Student chapters help to expand the reach of education beyond your school, to the world of theatre and the pioneers that continue to change our industry. 

USITT Student Chapters are established to provide opportunities for students wishing to further their experience in technical theatre, design, and management through education, outreach, and networking.

What do students get from forming a chapter? 

Examples of value 

What is the difference between being a chapter vs just joining the national?

  • Gives you access to knowledge on how to leverage funds and access to the national conference
  • Tech and design expo
  • Prague Quadrennial 
  • Building leadership skills and opportunities
  • Activities
  • Long term investment to maintain relevant in the industry
  • Access
  • Building a bridge between the university and USITT National
  • Community gatherings for fun of like minded folks
  • Friends, networking and jobs
    • Structure beyond the class work to work on these tools
  • Creates an Environment that facilitates student participation
  • Professionally rewarding 
  • Resume builder
  • Get hands on help to build opportunity 
    • Connection to work with the national educational outreach programing
  • Opportunities to connect with other students in your geographical area

Testimonials 

"When I discovered the wide range of professionals and organizations connected to USITT, I knew that this was an organization that I had to be a part of. Not only has USITT led to meaningful employment opportunities and connected me to amazing arts workers, I have found a "family" that encourages my growth and artistry. As our industry bounces back from the pandemic, I am confident in the future of my career because of the strong foundation and network that USITT has given me."

-Rachael Ellis 

Allegheny College BA 2019

How to start a Student Chapter:

  1. Bring together a group of your friends and classmates. 
  2. You must have at least six chapter members who are USITT national members. Students who are not USITT national members may also belong to the chapter.
    1. High schools only need the sponsor to be a national member.
  3. Identify a non-student national member who is willing to serve as sponsor and provide the chapter with active leadership and guidance. Many chapters have co‐sponsors (if so, both must be USITT members).
    1. Please check with your institution about required guidelines on forming a student organization.
  4. Hold elections to determine chapter officers or appoint interim officers. Required officer positions:
    1. Chair, Vice‐Chair, Treasurer, and Secretary. The latter two offices can be combined into a Secretary‐Treasurer position.
  5. Write By‐laws for the chapter. Sample by‐laws are available from USITT.
  6. Complete the Student Chapter application online. (See red button above)
  7. The National Office and the Membership Committee will review. If all requirements are met, a Charter certificate will be mailed to the chapter sponsor. 
  8. Congrats, you are a student chapter of USITT!

 

Interested individuals may also attend a Student Roundtable meeting at the Annual Conference & Stage Expo or at an online meeting to obtain information. Individuals who wish to verify membership may check their account at usitt.org.

If any questions arise, please contact either Lea Ann Quimby or Annmarie Duggan.

Now what? Below is a list of ideas that we have seen other chapters successfully do over the years. In addition to this list we review ideas at the annual Student Roundtable. 

Development:

  • Resume workshops
  • Master classes
  • Attending conference with a group
  • Registering a team in the Skills Challenge
  • Providing students with information from national and sections
  • Hosting events and monthly meetings
  • Young designers forum, tech expo, and design expo support
  • Create leadership opportunity to become an officer of a student organization
  • Host workshops such as rigging, mask making, historic painting processes. 
  • Hold a tech skill competition
    • Challenge a local school
  • Work with your school’s alumni association to connect for local opportunities for tours, workshops, guest artists, ect. 
  • Volunteer to help after a natural disaster or for community projects in your area
  • Working with another department in the school for a workshop. Example would be taking a mold casting workshop with the Art Department. 
  • Working with a local gear rental house to demo new and exciting gear the college may not have yet.
    • In some cases they will lend out this gear for a discount or even free for limited days. 

Fun:

  • Pizza parties
  • Movie nights
  • Talent show (partnering with other campus groups)
  • Drag show (partnering with other campus groups)
  • Pumpkin carving design challenge 
  • Theater venue tours
  • Local or touring shows backstage tours

Fundraising:

  • Selling merch to students, faculty, and staff (be sure you have permission on any logos being used, such as your university's or USITT's) 
  • Offering clothing alteration services to community and school
  • Requiring dues from students
  • Yard sale by gathering donations from fellow students, staff, and faculty 
  • Haunted house
  • Do a online donation drive with your schools fundraising department
  • Work with your school’s alumni association to raise donations

Renewal 

  1. Charters run for one year — October to October.
  2. Plan activities for the year — a mix of service to the department/profession, fundraisers to support attendance at the Annual Conference and social events works well for many chapters.
  3. Follow through on your plans and have fun!
  4. In spring, elect next year’s officers and send the President's contact information to the VP‐MSC.
  5. In fall, re‐check for six current USITT members, plan a new year of activities, and submit a Charter Renewal form.
  6. There should be enough interested students to sustain the chapter beyond any one academic year. 
  7. Review your goals and don’t be afraid to change them. When looking at other chapters for advice keep in mind that each chapter is at a different place in their development and some goals may not make the most sense for your chapter. 

Succession Planning advice

  • Consider cross training on tasks between the officers
  • Have a first year rep officer who is elected in the Fall. This sets up a person to be a future officer.
  • Hold a meeting between the new officers and the past officers after elections to help pass along the knowledge. 
  • Check in with your advisor they will be willing or able to continue their support for your chapter in the upcoming term.
  • Document the process of your events. What works, what did you learn to avoid next time, what were the costs and needs. 
    • Who did you contact for the venue, talent, vendor, etc.
      • How did that relationship and communication work?
    • Keep track of plans, drawings, inventories
    • Who did you contact for resources
    • Did you use name tags to identify leaders for the event
    • What forms did you fill out?
    • Finances/money storage
      • Document how you pay for things?
    • Signage/logo/branding guidelines archive
    • Document your marketing process
      • What worked and what you feel didn’t have an impact
    • What is your school's policy on serving/selling food?
    • What platforms did you use for an online event?
      • What worked, login information, “how to” for users
    • Even if you don’t plan to do the same exact event, there is always cross over value. 
    • Post event review and document your discussion. 
  • Have a shared cloud or server file system that your advisor has admin privileges on
    • Many schools provide file space as part of being a club
    • Have a backup of your files
  • Social media: Make sure you document your passwords and transfer ownerships to the new officers, and ensure your advisor has admin as well
  • Reassess goals of the chapter at the beginning of each year. Don’t be afraid to change the format of what and how your chapter runs.

Sponsor/Advisor Guidelines 

  • Identify a non-student national member who is willing to serve as sponsor and provide the chapter with active leadership and guidance. Many chapters have co‐sponsors (if so, both must be USITT members).
    • Please check with your institution about required guidelines on forming a student organization.
  • We encourage you to have a co-sponsor for the student chapter whose schedule is offset as best as possible to yours. Often this means a staff and a faculty member share the workload. 
  • Make sure you are attending the officer and general meetings of the chapter
  • Be supportive and go to events. Encourage your colleagues to come as well. 
  • family:Arial">To ensure the chapter is following the institution’s policies
  • The chapter finances are properly handled and tracked
  • Conduit to opportunities that USITT’s offers year around
  • Help guide your students to know about and apply to the awards and programs USITT offers
  • You are encouraged to become a part of USITT!

Student Chapters of USITT are organized across the nation in our colleges, universities, and high schools.

Comprised of six or more students with a sponsor, these chapters work to promote learning among their peers and to support design and technology on campus.

If you are interested in starting a student chapter, download the formation guidelines and application form.

USITT Student Chapter Information:

 

2021-2022 Student Chapters

Angelo State University
San Angelo, TX
Chair: Stefani Garcia
Sponsor: Rick Reeves

Bear River High School
Grass Valley, CA
Chair: Milo Fassel
Sponsor: Erin Beatie

Carmel High School
Carmel, IN
Chair: Arthur Mansavage
Sponsor: Andrew Okerson

Central Washington University
Ellensburg, WA
Chair: Fineas Herman
Sponsor: Jerald Dougherty

Jesuit High School
Portland, OR
Chair: Carter Ptak
Sponsor: Jeff Hall

Lake Travis High School
Austin, TX
Chair: Avery Reagan
Sponsor: K.J. Bartosh

Lee High School
Huntsville, AL
Chair: Ellie Wren
Sponsor: Bryan Comer

Leigh High School
San Jose, CA
Chair: Nolan Nagy
Sponsor: Jonathan Yani

Minnesota State University – Mankato
Mankato, MN
Chair: Kyle Jensen
Sponsor: George Grubb

Missouri State University
Springfield, MO
Chair: Jake Vollmar
Sponsor: Michelle Harvey

Nebraska Wesleyan University
Lincoln, NE
Chair: Sierra Smith
Sponsor: Rebecca Armstrong

Northwestern University
Evanston, IL
Chair: Hayley Wallenfeldt
Sponsor:Chris Wych

Oklahoma State University
Stillwater, OK
Chair: Leah Anderson
Sponsor: Jason Estala

Pace University
New York, NY
Chair: Turner Barger
Sponsor: Jay Duckworth

Pittsburgh CAPA 6-12
Pittsburgh, PA
Chair: Sawyer Mervis
Sponsor: Chris Howard

Rowan University
Glassboro, NJ
Chair: Michaela Navarro
Sponsor: Thomas Fusco

School for Creative and Performing Arts
Cincinnati, OH
Chair: Kiyanna Beamon
Sponsor: Brad Gerard

Southeast Missouri State University
Cape Girardeau, MO
Chair: Gillian Pendel
Sponsor: Christopher George Haug

Southern Arkansas University
Magnolia, AR
Chair: Madelynne West
Sponsor: Imma Curl

St. Edward’s University
Austin, TX
Chair: Alexandra Ligh & Katie Mark
Sponsor: Kathryn Eader

SUNY at Fredonia
Malone, NY
Chair: Rebekah Barse-Nye
Sponsor: Todd Proffitt

SUNY University at Buffalo
Buffalo, NY
Chair: Timothy “TJ” Wildow
Sponsor: Jonathan Shimon

Taipei American School HS
Taipei Shilin, Taiwan
Chair: Raji Ramanathan
Sponsor: Kevin B. Held

Temple University
Philadelphia, PA
Chair: Charles Santella
Sponsor: Matthew Miller

Texas A&M – Corpus Christi
Corpus Christi, TX
Chair: April Salazar
Sponsor: Kevin Loeffler

Texas State University
San Marcos, TX
Chair: James Camp
Sponsor: Cheri Prough DeVol

The Pennsylvania State University
University Park, PA
Chair: Sydney O Smith
Sponsor: William Kenyon

The Webb Schools
Claremont, CA
Chair: William Ma
Sponsor: Alex Valdez

University of Minnesota, Duluth
Duluth, MN
Chair: Matthew Lamers
Sponsor: Scott Boyle

University of Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh, PA
Chair: Shamus Bonner
Sponsor: Annmarie Duggan

University of Southern California
Los Angeles, CA
Chair: Zoe McCracken
Sponsor: Duncan Mahoney

Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University
Blacksburg, VA
Chair: Daniel Solomon Holland
Sponsor: Jane Alois Stein

Western Colorado University
Gunnison, CO
Chair: Jensen Hall
Sponsor: Wally Eastland

UPDATED: 11/4/2021