Laugh Out Loud with Leah Erben: A Student Life Story
Written by: Sarah Krishef
Posted on April 21, 2021
In high school, Leah Erben sold tickets to her school’s improv shows, but she never had the confidence to go up on stage herself. Today, as the president of GVSU’s improv comedy team “Subject to Change”, Leah has not only found her confidence but has learned how to inspire it in others.
This is how Leah found herself through improv comedy and how you can use her story to discover your passion too.
Leah Erben is a senior and a writing major at GVSU. Even before entering high school, Leah loved improv comedy, sitcoms, and stand-up, a passion that began when she’d secretly watch comedy at night when she was supposed to be sleeping. But when it came to performing comedy herself, she was always too nervous to join her school’s improv team.
Unsure and lacking confidence, Leah had come to GVSU with no idea what her future would look like. “[But] I knew that even though I didn’t know what I wanted to major in or what I wanted to do when I first came to GV, I would be able to figure it out with the resources that are available...and figure it out I did!”
Leah discovered “Subject to Change”, an 8-10 person improv team at GV, when she went to Campus Life Night her first year and the improv team threw candy at her. With nothing to lose, she auditioned to join the team. The acceptance that followed would change her life’s path forever.
Whether improvising funny scenarios in front of a packed audience or attending bonding events with her teammates, Leah’s speaking, listening, and collaborating skills improved by leaps and bounds.
“Subject to Change is unique because we encourage everyone to be themselves and be true to who they are,” Leah says.
The club, which hosts workshops and comedy shows both at Grand Valley and throughout Michigan, is all about forming connections between team members and the audience.
Leah eventually became the president of Subject to Change. Now she’s the one throwing candy at prospective members at Campus Life Night, and she’s never felt more confident in who she is. “If you’re interested or passionate about something, find an organization that will feed and grow that passion,” Leah advises. “My college experience would not have been as positive as it has been if I had not gotten involved.”
These photos were taken before COVID-19.