In the fall of 2019, Parker Hickey, acting senior major, was approached by Jacki Walburn, a senior at the time, who was looking for any opportunity to be an activist and be more sustainable, whether by organizing strikes. for the climate or by painting theatrical sets. .
âShe was very involved in political affairs and knocking on doors for local candidates and on the debate team, so she was very passionate,â Hickey said.
Hickey and Walburn shared a common interest in theater, and they both wanted to do everything in their power to make a difference and show people that he could be more environmentally friendly.
“[Walburnâs] very passionate about theater, and it can be such a pointless thing, but the arts and theater are extremely important in society, âHickey said. “She was truly fascinated by the Broadway Green Alliance, which is a program with Broadway, Off-Broadway, regional theaters, and college programs that use this information to help create more sustainable practices in theaters across the country.”
According to its website, the Broadway Green Alliance connects members of the theater industry with environmental professionals to standardize green practices in the community and has implemented sustainability reform on Broadway since 2008. These practices include making all lights energy efficient, keeping old costumes outside. landfills and offering educational programs at various universities.
From Walburn’s fascination with this group arose the Ball State Green Theater Society – a club which Hickey says encourages environmental stewardship and raises awareness of theater industry practices that may not be the most respectful of the environment. Walburn and Hickey both started the group in 2019, and now Hickey is the chairman.
âWe want to make sure people are always thinking, ‘Do I really need to print this script? Can we be more frugal and save a few trees and just reuse that old wood for this set? Can we bring reusable water bottles to rehearsals? ‘ You just have to think of every little thing possible to create more awareness, âHickey said.
They said the COVID-19 pandemic had been difficult for the organization because many of the group’s activities in the first year required face-to-face contact and group activities, but now the effects of the pandemic improve, the Green Theater Society can plan more events.
âSome of our meetings have been informative,â Hickey said. âWe talked about the news that is going on in the world, but then usually we will do group activities and sometimes creative things like doing [climate] signs of strike.
The Green Theater Society has historically had between 15 and 20 people involved each year, but Hickey said attendance fluctuates. They also spoke at freshman theater classes to recruit new members for the club.
âWe need people to keep going and keep going,â Hickey said. âWe need to bring in more passionate subclasses on this, more opinions, more diversity and more people on stage and behind the scenes, just to get multiple perspectives and even connections with the professors. I think it’s really important to involve them so that we can do more within the productions.
Graeme Mahon, acting principal major, is also a member of the board of directors of the Green Theater Society and agreed that it had been difficult to recruit new members during the pandemic. He also said it was difficult to have male members as he believes there is a stigma around the group which is “a female thing”.
âAn important goal, especially this semester, is just to involve more people, to really branch out and try to attract as many new members as possible,â Mahon said. “I think we all have a responsibility to take care of the planet, so it’s one of my hopes that we have more members and, in particular, more male representation.”
The Green Theater Society hosts several events throughout the school year to engage students, the most popular being the Clothing Swap on University Green, where people can get new clothes while donating old ones. This year’s event took place on October 23, where the group also donated some of their jerseys to publicize the club and attract more followers.
âWe usually wait until we do that before Halloween so people can get parts for their costumes,â Hickey said. “It’s super cheap, and the students love it.”
Mahon and Hickey said the group was trying to organize more events in addition to the clothing swap, which it was able to do more in 2019 without COVID-19 worries. Hickey said one of their favorites was a vegan potluck and another event where everyone brought in supplies to make their own zero waste toothpaste.
âWe also did news about the zero waste movement, environmental racism and hot topics like this,â Mahon said.
This year, Mahon also said the board plans to add other events like a succulent workout or a climate strike at the Scramble Light.
As Hickey and Mahon both prepare to graduate, they both want to make sure the Green Theater Society is in “good hands” and ready to survive them once they leave Ball State.
âI feel like the start of the club was born out of a lot of passion, but it was very chaotic and there was no focused mission,â Hickey said, âso my goal before passing it on to the leaders next year is to make the mission very clear and people to know exactly what the club is and exactly what we are about to do.