Theatre Majors Pioneer Return of Alpha Psi Omega

March 16, 2011 / by / 0 Comment

By Zane Ewton

Almost seven months have passed since the arts returned to Grand Canyon with the College of Fine Arts and Production and its first show, “The Pirates of Penzance.” In that time, the crew of pioneering COFAP students has succeeded in making it appear that the arts never left GCU.

Spurred by inspiration from Bill Symington, assistant dean of theatre and dance, the theatre majors relaunched Alpha Psi Omega, a co-ed fraternity that serves as the national theatre honor society. It has quickly become one of the most active student groups on campus.

The group is not exclusive to theatre majors and includes students from all colleges. Students must collect 75 points before their official induction into the fraternity.

Freshman Shelby Athouguia is the pointmaster. Alpha Psi Omega requires its members to earn points to prove their standing within the group. One point equals one hour of work. Students may act onstage to earn points, but most of the work is behind the scenes on the technical aspects of GCU theatre productions.

Freshman Adam Benavides serves as the group’s president. You may know his face from his role as the traveling actor Wayne in “Inspecting Carol.” He has been in every production this year. Athouguia has been in every one as well, except for “Pirates.”

“This is an honorary, nationally recognized fraternity,” Benavides says. “You have to work hard, but you will have a hell of a good time. We have become like a family.”

The group recently visited San Diego and viewed four theatre productions in two days. How did they get there? By selling chocolate bars.

No idea is too big or too small for this group.

“We are the type of club where if someone has a good idea, we will do whatever it takes to make it happen,” Benavides says. “We are a club that follows through.”

Athouguia presented one of those good ideas. She believes it is important for the group to give back to the community and the University. She has spearheaded the group’s next event, Take the Walk.

On Saturday, March 19, GCU students are invited to meet in front of the Student Union at 11 a.m. and take part in a one-mile barefoot walk around campus. The walk is to demonstrate awareness of the HIV/AIDS pandemic and poverty in Africa, as well as to raise funds. The Take the Walk campaign and TOMS Shoes will donate one dollar for every walker.

“I did the walk with the band Hanson (Take the Walk organizers) two years ago and it is still going strong,” Athouguia says. “You will feel like you did something important.”

For more information about Take the Walk, visit

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