Commencement Feature: Seth Lindsey urges you to say yes to as much as you can

Seth (right) with Clyde the Mountain Lion

“Say yes to things.”

That’s one of the most significant pieces of advice Visual and Performing Arts graduate Seth Lindsey has for fellow and future students, and he knows from experience. Seth has followed his own advice throughout his time here at UCCS, becoming involved in many events and organizations and saying yes to whatever he can.

“I have been repeatedly blown away by what I’ve been able to reach by my senior year by saying yes to small events during my freshman one,” he said. “Experiences and opportunities build on one another, so something that may seem insignificant to you during your first year at UCCS could very easily turn out to be the experience of a lifetime a few months or a year down the road. You never really know what doors will be available to you in the hallway of your college time if you never chose to open that first door that leads you to that hallway.”

Saying yes to those early opportunities has paid off for Seth, keeping him busy right up until graduation with classes, work and his many other activities. One of those activities was emceeing the 2023 Benson Society event on April 1, where he welcomed the attendees, spoke on his time at UCCS in the Chancellor’s Leadership Class (CLC) and VAPA and introduced President Todd Saliman.

“It was a wonderful, wonderful experience. Something I will not forget anytime soon, or at all,” said Seth.

Other events on Seth’s schedule as he nears graduation is his CLC presentation, a theater capstone project and the VAPA All-Arts Festival, the ending of which includes his college directorial debut of the play “Circle Mirror Transformation,” a performance Seth calls “a really fun play that will make you laugh and break your heart a little bit.”

Seth on move-in day

“The best way to explain the play is to start with the playwright, Annie Baker, because she’s very unique,” explained Seth. “She’s a young female playwright who started releasing plays that really started catching attention around the early 2010s, maybe even before, and this play is the second of her plays that got wide publicity. She built this play with the director and the cast and she was writing it as they were rehearsing it, and they were changing scenes and changing lines. So things are constantly changing. That was all the improvisation of it. It follows a group of five individuals in Shirley, Vermont, and they’re taking an adult creative drama class. What I think really attracted me to the play was that it’s a near empty room with five un-ostentatious individuals, and most of the dialogue I like to call reminiscent of a voicemail, yet it still presents this part of the flawed human condition that we all kind of share in – our inability to properly tell each other how we feel. We’re all suffering in this issue to communicate and we see that throughout the play.”

The play will be a nice way for Seth to come full circle from his first performance at UCCS, with friend and fellow VAPA student Matt Philips having acted alongside Seth in his very first show, “Gaslight,” and now acting as scenic designer for this last performance.

“You’ll see yourself on stage in almost every scene,” Seth said. “I’m having a blast directing it. My cast is amazing. My stage management team is utterly professional and also just best friends of mine. It really is such a wonderful way to finish out my time at UCCS of sitting on the other side of the table and both having that design side, but also being able to be in the room and try to use all that I’ve learned acting wise and directorial side to lead my group and my cast to convey this message that I think we will certainly be able to.”

Seth with his dad on his last day of chemo

Another personal experience, which Seth touched on at the Benson Society event, was working through difficult times during university, including COVID and his battle with Stage IV-B Hodgkins-Lymphoma, which he entered remission for in October of 2021. Despite the difficult experience Seth went through, he’s found a way to turn it into a positive opportunity by working with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS), an organization that funds blood cancer research and provides education and patient services in aims to cure leukemia, lymphoma, myeloma and other blood cancers.

“I definitely want to continue my involvement with LLS and finding ways to support them. No matter how far into remission you are, if you’re a cancer survivor, it is always with you, and it’s always a fear. You’re going to have fear, and it’s something you’re going to be cautious about, something you’re going to be vigilant in, making sure that you’re safe, and I want to continue to support the organizations that help early detection.”

For his Leadership Capstone project, he partnered with LLS and Bite Me Cancer to host two days of fundraising and community engagement centered around spreading awareness for those facing the impossible challenge of cancer.

“I was elated to have been given the opportunity to serve my community in a way that brings people together and confronts the evils of cancer,” Seth said. “The process of organizing the fundraisers, leading dedicated and compassionate followers and finally delivering my speech at the first official UCCS Light the Night on Nov. 11 was an experience I will never forget. We succeeded in raising an impressive amount of financial support for both organizations and in increasing awareness of these two phenomenal non-profit organizations.”

Seth with his fellow “Pillowman” cast members

Seth plans to continue raising awareness and support for those facing similar battles by sharing his own story at future LLS events.

“I always found it nice to hear another person’s story and know that you’re not alone. It’s always nice to know that others have survived and we can survive,” he said. “Telling my story and helping in every way I can in the nonprofit world as much as possible is something that I will continue to do no matter what.

With all of these commitments, it’s no surprise Seth has little free time.

“Spare time is a unicorn to me,” laughed Seth. “However, when those magical moments do come, I find myself wanting to get outside. Mountain biking in Palmer Park has been a favorite way of mine to enjoy the nature of the area and catch new views of that same old majestic image of the Rocky Mountains. On my bike rides, and throughout my day, I also enjoy listening to true crime podcasts. They have been an escape for me for a long time ever since my older brother first introduced me to them. I also love spending time with friends and playing video games with high school pals that I do not get to see in person regularly.”

Though his moments of free time are infrequent and Seth is an advocate for getting involved in as much as you can, he also reminds students that moderation is key and that taking breaks is crucial for staying healthy mentally and physically.

“Give yourself grace and make sure that you are taking note of your mental health. Stress brings exhaustion which often just brings more stress and exhaustion, so giving yourself breaks is important and even difficult to do.”

While some of those commitments and activities will slow down after graduation, Seth is already filling that time with future plans like his upcoming El Pomar Fellowship. He’ll be working as a fellow in a two-year position starting in July and is hoping to work in communications alongside his fellowship duties and learn more about leadership, building on the skills he’s cultivated through VAPA, CLC and his leadership studies.

“After my capstone last semester with my leadership minor, that certainly motivated me to lean more into that nonprofit sector and the leadership side of nonprofit work that I think is so crucial,” said Seth.

Seth with the production team of “Hair”

Leadership also factors into Seth’s long-term career goals, as he hopes to work in artistic administration and directing.

“I really want to have a future in arts administration,” Seth said. “I certainly will never give up the stage. But I also want to make the larger impact in theater through arts administration, specifically artistic directing and being the one to pick the plays that speak to people. To be in those plays is terrific, and that’s how you really deliver the message, but someone above you is picking what plays are teaching a community or speaking to a community, whether that be Colorado Springs as a whole or a specific demographic in Colorado Springs. That aspect combines my creative love of being able to read through plays and choose what I think really will speak to someone, and then that organizational side of how do we bring people into the theater and how do we organize this and how do we pay people? Both of those equally fascinate me and satisfy different needs in my brain.”

Seth is understandably both excited and sad as graduation approaches and while there’s plenty he’ll miss about UCCS, being on campus is the one that sticks out the most.

“I will most miss being on campus,” Seth said. “Especially as a student who experienced COVID in the second semester of my freshman year, I quickly learned how important being physically in the space of UCCS is to the feeling of belonging that I think all students can find here. That feeling, for me, strengthened and solidified during my next three years. Simply walking around and saying hi to the friendly faces that I have gotten to know deeply over my time here is such a perfect little gift that I do not think should be overlooked or undervalued.”

About the Chancellor’s Leadership Class

Chancellor’s Leadership Class is a four-year undergraduate leadership development program at UCCS initiated in 1997. The program is designed to engage scholars with the members of the Colorado Springs community to nourish positive community impact through leadership and training. CLC strives to empower students to become leaders by facilitating opportunities for self-reflection, community service, and professional development. Scholars also prepare and develop to be advocates for their personal passion and purpose in life. Learn more about the Chancellor’s Leadership Class online.

About the UCCS College of Letters, Arts & Sciences

The College of Letters, Arts & Sciences at UCCS is the university’s largest college, enrolling nearly 6,000 students across 21 departments and programs. The college offers 19 majors and 53 minors in the arts, humanities, social sciences and natural sciences. Students can also choose from five accelerated bachelor’s and master’s degrees, nine full master’s degrees and three Ph.D. degrees, as well as pre-medical and pre-law programs. The mission of the college is to position graduates for success in their personal and professional lives, with a focus on thinking, creating and communicating — skills vital to employers and graduate and professional schools. Learn more about the College of Letters, Arts & Sciences at UCCS.