Feminist Friday reflects on the ability of improv to tackle social change


Feminist Friday speaker Chuck Wongus, a graduate student assistant and the leadership education and development adviser for the Office of Sorority and Fraternity Engagement, led a discussion Feb. 21 over the use of improv in social movements.

Loretta Mcgraw

Chuck Wongus, a graduate student in education and the leadership education and development adviser for the Office of Sorority and Fraternity Engagement, led this week’s Feminist Friday discussion on the benefits of improv usage in the form of social movements to keep the conversation going.

“I know I find myself sometimes having these conversations about these very large issues of systemic racism and it’s really hard for some folks to grasp these large concepts but you have to bring these in,” Wongus said. “You bring them in and they’re like ‘why does it matter in the here and the now, and where we are? How does this show up?’”

The discussion was the first of its kind for Wongus and one of the more interactive sessions to take place for Feminist Friday this semester. The session included several group activities practicing the technique of “yes, and” over the topic of Netflix and favorite foods.

It also featured a storytelling session throughout the room in which one individual set the stage on her getting ready for cheer practice before it was passed to the next participant and so on, each further developing the story.

Where it began as a story about getting ready for cheer practice and going on a jog it developed into finding money, hiding the money below a pillow, the tooth fairy exchanging a $100 bill for 100 teeth, the mom ignoring her child given her plans to attend the social justice summit of 2020, the teeth being buried and ended on the note of the girl full of questions about what happened to her money, the tooth fairy’s existence and lastly the origin of the teeth in the first place.

“I strongly believe [that] at the core, movement building is about building relationships with other people,” Wongus said. “Usually a person exposed you to like some sort of trauma that was going on.”

This approach of improvisation is not new to many. Its adaptation to fit various things such as business meetings or even in social justice is ever present. However, Wongus said they recommended taking this approach to the foregrounds of movements in order to better approach the way people talk about making a change.

“Honestly what I really love about improv as a whole is that it’s just a bunch of people working together, telling a story, and stories are what build movements,” Wongus said. “Just everyone working together and feeding off each other and building each other in that regard is really beautiful to be able to see.”

The next Feminist Friday will feature Amanda Arp who will address the topic of “Embracing Fat as a Feminist and Rhetorical Issue” on Feb. 28.