After years of operating as a Registered Student Organization (RSO) and as a departmental organization, Trinity University Players (TUPS) is currently undergoing fundamental changes due to the department’s discovery of the dual status in the spring of 2018.
“How it came about was that TUPS was selling wooden flowers to make money, but we needed the receipts because we thought they were a departmental club,” said Andrew Hansen, chair of the Department of Human Communication and Theatre. “With a departmental club we have to do the budget stuff and turn it into administration. They said, ‘We don’t think we have to, we turn it into Student Involvement.’ ”
Following this discovery, Hansen emailed Shannon Edmond, coordinator for student programs, and found out that TUPS actually was already a student organization and has been since 2011.
“Technically we were a student organization for a very long time, but last semester someone realized that we were both a departmental organization and also a student involvement organization, which was a problem with our money,” said Mindy Tran, senior and president of TUPS. “We take dues, and if we take dues — if we were a department organization — we would have to give our dues to [the department]. But with Student Involvement, it’s a little more lenient where you can have an account with Student Involvement, or you can have a bank account outside.”
Once this issue was brought to light, TUPS members met with Theatre Department faculty to resolve the issue.
“I was in lots of meetings talking about what we’re going to do and what needs to happen, so the faculty was also figuring out what each thing would mean, so it was a whole process at the end of last semester,” said Kate Jones-Waddell, senior and vice president of TUPS. “Basically, I talked to them and they were like, ‘Here’s what each thing is going to mean.’ We went to the TUPS organization, and we presented what the faculty had told me, and they had a vote on it, and the vote was unanimous to separate from the department. That was at the very end of last semester.”
The decision to separate from the Theatre Department and operate solely as an RSO forced TUPS to make some changes. Before this decision, TUPS were the exclusive producer of student lab shows.
“Lab shows went through TUPS before being submitted to the faculty and staff,” Rachel Joseph, faculty advisor for TUPS, wrote in an email. “In order to open up this co-curricular opportunity to students across campus, proposals now go directly to the department. Faculty and staff will choose proposals to stage as an extension of the mainstage season. The only difference now is that the proposals don’t come only from TUPS.”
Because lab shows will now be run directly through the Theatre Department, TUPS is in the process of figuring out how they will put on shows without being a departmental organization.
“This semester, we are having a little bit of a struggle from what happened last semester,” Tran said. “One of the struggles is getting money for our shows because we used to get $300 for lab shows, but we can’t get that anymore from the department. We have to figure out how to do SGA funding and we’re about to do our first proposal meeting next Tuesday for our two shows of the semester. It’s been a lot of up-in-the-air kind of things, and we’re hoping that everything will soon be in writing on both sides of the parties, the department and TUPS.”
Joseph expressed her excitement to see what direction TUPS will go in as a RSO.
“The Theatre Department always wants there to be a successful TUPS and for it to be a place for students who love and want to practice theatre,” Joseph wrote. “The more theatre on campus the better! I admire the dedication of TUPS.”
The next upcoming TUPS show will be The Rocky Horror Picture Show during the last weekend of October. Students who want to get involved can email firstname.lastname@example.org to get added to the mailing list. Dues for new members are $10 for a semester and dues for returning members are $20 for a semester.