School of Theatre’s Student Diversity Committee gains University organization status

After two years of waiting for approval, the School of Theatre’s Student Diversity Committee has become an official University organization.

As an organized body of student advocates and allies, the mission of the committee is to support the development of an inclusive, culturally pluralistic environment and advocate for diversity, equity, inclusion and intersectionality within the School of Theatre where diversity is not only tolerated, but also celebrated.

Alyssa Stanford, a junior majoring in musical theatre and president of the committee, said that, for her, the lack of diversity in the School of Theatre made the transition to college difficult, which highlights the importance of the organization.

“I dealt with a lot of anxiety, and it was hard for me to perform in my classes,” Stanford said. “Having this organization was really helpful because I found a community of people who felt how I felt, and we were able to create change together.”

The committee has not been around for long, only having been founded in 2020, but within that short time the impact has been felt by students, faculty and administrators.

Rick Lombardo, director of the School of Theatre, said the committee provides valuable feedback to the school on how to be more inclusive.

“We actively seek out a great deal of student feedback and perspective, and this committee, along with our student advisory board, serves as a wonderful conduit for students to raise issues and concerns, as well as helping us problem solve,” Lombardo said.

To do this, one of the committee’s main focuses is teaching its members how to advocate for themselves. Stanford said that more than creating friendships, she hopes her committee will help teach students to stand up and make their voices heard.

The committee hosts events such as the Gay Prom, Paint n’ Sip and community engagement forums to foster inclusivity and, according to Stanford, create a safe space for anyone to share their thoughts and experiences.

While the committee is still relatively small, home to about 30 members, the organization hopes to extend its reach across the University.

“In future years, I would love to see us collaborate with other organizations on campus since we now have that name,” Stanford said. “But right now, we’re just getting our footing.”

For more information on the School of Theatre Student Diversity Committee or to become a member, contact Stanford at

Written By: Ainsley Spitz