May is one of five newly elected chairpersons for the Performing Arts Council, an umbrella organization for the student performing arts community. PAC is divided into four subcommittees — dance, theater, a cappella and SMaC, which is composed of singers, musicians and comedians.
Each committee is headed by a chairperson who is elected by the various student performing arts groups on campus each year.
In addition to May, this year’s chairpersons are College juniors Rachel Romeo, Manoj Racherla and Anna Fountaine, as well as Engineering junior Vashisht Garg. Their tenures will last from March to next February.
The Council oversees over 40 performing arts groups. There are more than 1,400 students involved in the performing arts community — the second-largest student community after Greek life — according to Fountaine, the newly elected Dance Arts Council chairwoman.
The Council’s responsibilities include allocating performance and rehearsal space and ensuring unity between the various performing arts groups.
“We do our best to represent the entire student performing arts community,” Racherla said.
Romeo stressed that PAC is constantly attempting to create a sense of community in the performing arts body, including encouraging cross-over performances between groups within the different sub-committees.
“These sorts of performances facilitate togetherness and strengthen relationships,” Garg said.
All the members of PAC’s executive board are also involved with other committees such as the Student Activities Council and the Undergraduate Assembly steering committee.
In addition to meeting once a week, the Council also organizes events such as the “Bacchanal,” a PAC-sponsored party that will take place during reading days and which is open to the entire student body.
PAC also sends out a weekly newsletter, PACster, to keep students informed of upcoming shows and auditions.
“All groups are student-run,” Fountaine said. “Each have their own student-run elected board who create their own shows from scratch — that’s what makes them special. The talent here is just incredible.”
All the Council chairs stressed the diversity of Penn’s performing arts community.
“You’d never find as much diversity at other colleges as you do here,” Garg said.
Most groups put on performances over the course of the spring semester, and Romeo said she attends at least four to five shows a weekend.
As diverse as the groups are, Romeo added that they are also all members of a community that PAC oversees.
“We all share a love for performing arts,” she said.
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