After their first meeting on Thursday, performance season is in full swing for the USD Improv Club.
Every other Tuesday evening, the Improv Club performs in the Muenster University Center Pit Lounge. Their first performance was last Tuesday and from there they will continue their regular performances every other week.
Parker Oleson, Improv Club president and junior communication studies major, said he is excited to kick off the season with the new and returning members.
“I’m looking forward to all the fresh, new faces,” Oleson said. “We had a really big turnout of a lot of new people and it’s always exciting to see new talent come into the club and see how they interact with everyone who is already established. It’s great to see the club has a future going forward.”
The Improv Club has around 30 recurring performers and added about 15 new members. As the only comedy focused club on campus, Oleson said he really tries to focus on teaching people what improv is and how it can bring people together.
“We try to create an environment where people can be themselves and not worry about anything,” Oleson said. “We’re very anti-drama. For me personally, I just try to talk to everyone and try to be outgoing right off the bat so people know it’s okay to do that.”
In the Improv Club, the members have the three main goals of comedy, improvement and acceptance.
Jessica Mullenberg, senior human resource management major and Improv Club events chairman, has been involved in Improv Club for the last four years and said she loves working with students from all different majors and backgrounds.
“USD Improv Club has introduced me to many individuals who I would have otherwise never met,” Mullenberg said. “I am most looking forward to meeting new people and showing them that improv isn’t just for comedy, but also teaches you essential life skills such as communication and thinking on your feet.”
As events chair, Mullenberg plans social gatherings, performances, trips and bringing professional improv groups to campus.
Mullenberg said she has learned a lot about herself and became much more confident since being in Improv Club.
“I believe improv, in general, makes you step out of your comfort zone at one point or other,” Mullenberg said. “For me the hardest part was learning how to think quickly on my feet. It took a lot of encouragement from other members for me to have the confidence to get up on stage and perform for an audience.”
Elizabeth Vosburg, Improv Club media manager and junior social work major, promotes the Improv Club across campus and the community with social media, flyers and tabling in the MUC whenever possible.
Vosburg said her goal for the year is to gain a larger audience at every performance.
“As usual, we try to get USD better aware of who we are to gain new members,” Vosburg said. “Improv is a really good skill to have to be able to think off the top of your head. It makes us think outside of what we would normally do and try different ways of going about things, which is really needed in the real world.”
Vosburg said she really enjoys Improv Club because of the potential for creativity.
“I just get to be my weird self,” Vosburg said. “It actually reduces my anxiety. Even though I’m in front of people, I feel really comfortable. You also get really close to all the members, which is great.”
Oleson said the best part of being in Improv Club is being able to meet and interact with new people, as well as perform.
“I’ve made a lot of really good friends through the club,” Oleson said. “I’ve met so many amazing people through it and it’s also just given me a lot of confidence interacting with other people. It also just scratches the itch to be on a stage because I did a lot of theater in high school.”
Mullenberg said she is excited to work with the new members and hopes to expand the Improv Club even more.
“When we tell people about USD Improv Club, many people are scared away because they think they could never get on stage and perform,” said Mullenberg. “However, not many people know that performing is completely optional. We want our members to be completely comfortable and confident in their improv abilities before stepping on stage.”