Penn State College of Arts and Architecture
Center for the Performing Arts at Penn State

Penn State Student Affairs names Melissa Croushorn as year’s top club adviser

Penn State Student Affairs has named Performing Arts Council mentor Melissa Croushorn as Outstanding Student Adviser of the Year. She also serves as student engagement manager at the Center for the Performing Arts at Penn State and with Student Affairs.

The annual award is based on recommendations submitted by group leaders from more than a thousand student groups at University Park. Croushorn received the award at an April 23 ceremony.

Croushorn started her position at the council and with the center in July 2015. Being a newcomer to the university as well as to the fledgling student umbrella organization was a challenge that council President John Connolly recognized.

“The Performing Arts Council wouldn’t be where it is today without her, and I fully believe that even one year into this position as adviser, she is fully deserving of recognition as an outstanding adviser,” he said. “She has provided a lot of input and helped us shape some of our fledgling ideas into events and programs that are now taking root in the performing arts community. These couldn’t have been done without her expertise in the performing arts and working with young and passionate artists.”

Under Croushorn’s leadership, Connolly said, the student organization’s membership increased from 11 to 25. Croushorn attributes the increase to the club members’ sacrifices and awareness of the organization’s mission.

“They’ve all kind of had to make choices about how deeply they wanted to be involved in what areas,” Croushorn said. “I want them to stretch themselves, but their hearts need to be into what they are doing.”

In addition to helping the artists-turned-club members plan and network, she helped the group win a collaboration prize for an a cappella sampler performance.

She said the adviser award surprised her, but the nomination helped to validate her advising style.

“Once I knew they had nominated me, that was kind of the ‘OK, they know I’m with them in this,’ ” Croushorn said. “I think a place I struggled with was wanting to sort of respect the student-adviser relationship, but I think you can’t ever spend too much time with them.”

Performing Arts Council, formed in 2014, aims to nurture student interest and involvement in the arts by unifying more than 80 performing arts organizations at Penn State. The council’s student leaders represent various university groups—a cappella/vocal performance; instrumental music; theatrical performance; dance performance; and oratory and programming.

Learn more about the council.