On The Trinity Perspective, you will find those answers—or at least someone who asked the same questions. We have been in your shoes. The Trinity Perspective collects advice and stories from current students, parents, faculty, and alumni to share with you—prospective students, families, and the Trinity community.

By Jake Pursell –

From June 22 to July 4, I had the incredible opportunity to attend Festival Laboratorio Interculturale di Pratiche Teatrali (FLIPT) in Fara in Sabina, Italy. Teatro Potlach put on the festival, and I was given the opportunity through a Mellon Initiative research position at Trinity University with Professor Roberto Prestigiacomo. The festival consisted of all forms of theatrical workshops as well as performances every night put on by different theatre groups from around the world. At the end of the two weeks, all the participants and some Fara in Sabina community members all put on an Invisible City performance, directed by Pino Di Buduo of Teatro Potlatch.

Participants of Festival Laboratorio Interculturale di Pratiche Teatrali (FLIPT).
The workshops offered were many and varied: yoga, vocal and physical training, Commedia dell’Arte, stage combat, practical training on the development of montage, Kamigata-mai dance in the Japanese tradition, and lastly song, dance, and narrative technique in the Indian tradition. Not only was I able to participate in many of these workshops, I was able to at least observe all of them. Each theatre group that attended FLIPT also put on a performance; we were able to see shows from Pennsylvania, Italy, Japan, Texas, Minnesota, and India. Being able to not only see theatre from different cultures, but also to actively participate and learn these unique forms is something that I could not have experienced anywhere else. In America, there is a danger of young theatre artist only being exposed to one way of theatre, without being exposed to and appreciating all the other theatrical practices from across the world.

Sarah and I acting in Invisible City.
While in Italy, I also had the opportunity to act in an Invisible City performance. This form of performance involved the audience walking through a guided path through the whole city of Fara in Sabina, seeing different scenes as they walk. These scenes are presented almost like in a museum: exhibits on repeat, as the spectators stay and watch for as long as they like. The scenes can be something created already, or something original that you have created for the performance. I acted in a scene with Sarah Gise, an actress from San Antonio and currently acting in Chicago. In our scene, I (the younger brother) had gotten seriously injured, so much so that I have to be badged all over my arms, sides, neck and head. Sarah, the older sister, is the one attempting to badge me up, while also trying to keep me quiet so our mother does not hear. Our scene had no written text, and we only improvised the little Italian words and phrases that were applicable to the scene. I am an actor, first and foremost in theatre, and so I absolutely loved acting in this scene. It was meant to be funny, so Sarah and I played it up and had a lot of fun with the scene. Before the performances, I was worried about being able to keep up the energy in the scene; but since our audience was changing all the time, as they walked through the course, it was easier than expected to always keep it lively. Many children were fascinated with our scene because it was a lot of physical humor, appealing to them. It made it all the more fun for us as we acted for our younger, more silly audience members.

Projections on the town's plaza for the Invisible City performance.
My experience at FLIPT was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I have been able to see and learn how theatre is done around the world while actively being involved in doing it as well; acting in Invisible City was the cherry on top. I plan to take what I learned and experienced and always keep that in mind as I continue to become my own theatre artist.

For more information on Jake Pursell's research visit the Experiential Learning blog.

About Jake

Jacob Pursell '17 is a senior at Trinity University and is majoring in Theatre with a minor in Religion. Besides being involved in any theatrical production he can be, and reading and writing about religion, he enjoys dancing, playing basketball, camping, and traveling as much as possible. After graduation, he plans on continuing to be involved in theatre, in particular theatre for social change.

By Allyson Mackender —

College is a time of connections.

In fact, even the earliest decision about where to go to college is really just about a connection.

It's tough to explain, but this sense of meaningful connection could originate in many ways: the next door neighbor who became an alum, the cheering at a football game, the smell of mountain laurels on campus, the dorm room where you can see yourself having fun and studying (of course). You can’t pinpoint what makes a school standout from the others, but it just feels right. You just feel, well, connected.

Forbes magazine launched their #MyTopCollege competition today where college students and alumni can take to social media to share what makes their college the best. The competition encourages people to show how their college provided meaningful connections.

Throughout college you foster connections in every aspect of your life. You become connected to your sorority, to your sports team, and to your classmates. Your professors become your role models and your friends become family. These connections are somewhat expected in each and every college experience. However, these will be sprinkled with your own unique flavor.

With that, I guess it's my turn to share just one of the many meaningful connections and opportunities given to me by Trinity University, which of course is #MyTopCollege.

Allyson Mackender '17 is a senior at Trinity University.
As I enter my senior year at Trinity University, connections to new cultures and diverse voices is what I have found to be the most unique and wonderful thing about my college experience.

Trinity is a small school with 2,400 students, yet it has a very diverse population. Now, I understand that the demographics of the school may suggest otherwise, because practically everyone is from Texas. However, the international community is very present on campus.

Trinity University students come from 43 U.S. states and more than 70 countries.
Trinity’s international students are not only your classmates, bringing a unique perspective to academia, they are involved on campus in a variety of ways where we can learn from one another. When the massive 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit Ecuador in April 2016, Trinity students came together with the rest of the Tiger community to raise money for relief. This was an event that was very personal to those students from Ecuador and left students, myself included, with another strong connection to this global society in which we are a part.

Like the majority of Trinity students, I hopped on a flight and studied abroad. During my junior year, both myself and most of my friends spent a semester abroad. My semester in Copenhagen, Denmark was the most rewarding and incredible four months of my life! Because of Trinity’s encouragement to study abroad, I was able to foster new connections in a foreign country that are as strong as those I created in San Antonio and in Denver, where I was born and raised.

Nyhavn in Copenhagen, Denmark where I spent a semester abroad.
When choosing to attend Trinity I never expected to be exposed to and influenced by so many unique cultures. Yet, the global presence on Trinity’s campus, through the large international student population and through the diverse experiences Trinity students bring back to campus after studying abroad, is profound. Trinity has cultivated a community of globally-minded students who are encouraged to seek out international perspectives and experiences. The connections this environment allows is what truly makes Trinity a unique university and is what I will cherish when my time as a Trinity student comes to a close in ten short months. Next stop...Tiger alumni connections!

Starting Monday, July 11, Forbes is launching its third annual #MyTopCollege social media contest. For the next four weeks, we are challenging students, alumni, parents and staff to share social posts that showoff their school spirit and, especially, what is most unique about their schools. To be eligible, each post must include the hashtag #MyTopCollege along with the school’s Twitter handle. More details here.

About Ally

Allyson Mackender is a senior English major from Denver, Colorado. She is the author of Trinity's Experiential Learning Blog and the editor of the Trinity Perspective. In addition to working in Trinity's Marketing and Communications department, she is the Communications and Special Events intern at Gemini Ink, a San Antonio literary arts non-profit. Allyson is a member of Sigma Theta Tau and Phi Sigma Pi. The highlight of Allyson's Trinity experience? Studying abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark in the fall of 2015. In her free time, Allyson enjoys reading, searching for the best coffee in San Antonio, and spending time by the pool.