Improv-ing the student experience

Southern Adventist University has an improv team. They are a part of Engage Ministries, headed up by Southern Admissions Counselor Ryan Becker.
The Improv Team, though it has been around for many years, has only recently come under Engage Ministries. Junior mass communication member Cameron Reel said, “So basically, what we do with Engage is go around to schools and put on a show for them and then say ‘Hey, if you like that, that’s the type of stuff we do at Southern.’”
The team consists of eight members, and they meet for practice a couple times a week. Improv is based entirely on randomness and the principle that the “actors” do not have anything prepared, so practicing seems to directly contradict that. However, it does not contradict to work on different types of games together and grow closer and build a chemistry. Everything seen at a show is completely improvised. It just does not hurt to hone those skills and build relationships.
Aside from promoting the university, the shows are pure fun for the team. The laughs and smiles from the audience simply cannot compare to the laughs and smiles they bring each other during practices. They just wish people knew about it. Junior marketing member Luke Hickman said with a laugh, “We just want people to know we exist, man.” And now, people know they exist. Becker echoed that sentiment, “Because of the fact that Improv is not well-known yet, we are actually having to take a step back and reevaluate a bit. My goal would be to have them going on five trips a semester, just like one of our music teams does.”
Becker also hopes to see the Improv team serve as a propellant for the church. “Typically, when Engage does a trip, it’s on Sabbath, and improv typically isn’t seen as a Sabbath appropriate activity, so we’ve got some big hurdles to jump.” However, Becker does not see that stopping the Improv team and Engage Ministries from growing.
For more information on improv shows and how to join, contact Cameron Reel at or follow @southernimprovthing on Instagram. For information on Engage Ministries and the other avenues to serve, see Ryan Becker in the Admissions Office.

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