The Bethel College Theatre Alumni Chapter was created by Jamie Crothers ’12, and Ivy Covaciu '14, who had a vision to create opportunities for Bethel theatre students to help launch them into their careers.
"The chapter integrates students and alumni and helps transition students from undergrad to professionals," says Crothers.
The chapter has a mentoring program and they also give sponsorships to help students, who have performed in a Bethel play, get real-life experience doing the things they love.
The Theatre Alumni Chapter is relatively new; they officially launched during the 2014-2015 academic year. So far, their program has enabled five students receive a $500 sponsorship after they graduated from Bethel to start their career in theatre.
The sponsorship may be used to pay for graduate school expenses, headshots, audition clothes, and/or obtaining a professional resume. It is open to all who have an interest in theatre, says Crothers.
“We made it a point to help all who are interested, not [just] for the individuals who major and minor in theater. Anyone who has participated in one of the productions at Bethel is [eligible for] the sponsorship even if they did not complete their degree,” mentioned Crothers.
To connect mentors with the mentees, those involved fill out a form. “The form asks (the mentee) what career they want to go into, what they want to get out of the program, and their hobbies and interest,” Crothers says.
Once the Theatre Alumni Chapter has that information, they pair a mentee with an appropriate mentor. This program has great potential to help guide students to the right connections for their future careers.
So far, the chapter has already paired a few Bethel students with professionals working in the career that the students want of focus on. The program is broad enough that pairs can focus on joint areas of interest – or things like networking opportunities, life in the field, preparing for auditions, etc. This also gives students a chance to see if professional theatre is what God called them to do.
“We are connecting alumni and students and helping build personal and professional relationships. Theatre is all about who you know and we have alumni all over the country. It's a scary thing moving to a new city, not knowing anybody and theatre is a self-marketing type business. It's a lot less scary when you have a connection with someone who works for the company you're interested in or who knows the city really well,” says Crothers.
Utilizing the Theatre Alumni Chapter’s connections can make looking for jobs easier for recent graduates. And Crothers hopes that alumni from other majors will be inspired to start something similar.
“I believe we are the first and only Alumni Chapter in Bethel's History and we hope we can pave the way for others to connect with other alumni and students who have the same interests,” Crothers says.
Current students who may be interested in the mentoring program can email BCtheatrealumnichapter@gmail.com and fill out a form to get paired with an alumnus.