What’s New With U? – September

What’s Inside

Back to Work

The fall season is almost upon us and as our summer staff goes back to school, returns to year-round jobs, or continues to make art (staff, keep us posted on what you’re up to), the Usdan year-round staff size shrinks from over 300 to about a dozen of us. With another summer filled with creativity and nature, we look forward to reflecting on this summer’s successes, areas for improvement, and furthering our goals of instilling creativity and inspiring young artists in 2020. During the off-season, our staff will be working out of the New York (212.772.6060) and Long Island (631.643.7900) Offices. Here’s our year-round staff:

Lauren Brandt Schloss, Executive Director
Oscar Amaya, Facilities Manager
Anthony Amico, Director of Facilities
Kerry Barnhart, Senior Director of Student Affairs
Al Chiavaro, Facilities Maintenance Technician
Kathleen Drohan, Director of External Affairs
Motaz Elzalata, Senior Accountant
Julio Garcia, Senior Groundskeeper
Jillian Greenberg, Director of Education
Marcos Flores, Junior Groundskeeper
Stacey Jamieson, Admissions Counselor
Nicole Martinez, Marketing and PR Associate
Sari Sharaby, Senior Director of Finance and Operations
Olivia Wise, Enrollment and Admissions Coordinator

Lost and Found & Student Artwork 

If you would like to pick up your student’s artwork from our New York City location or if you are interested in speaking with the Usdan staff about other camp-related questions, please call us at 212.772.6060 between the hours of 9:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. If your student’s artwork is still in our Long Island office but would prefer to pick it up in the city, please let us know. 

If you need to pick up your student’s artwork or a lost item from our Long Island location, please let us know by calling us at 631.643.7900 between the hours of 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

2020 Enrollment


Dates, rates, and course offerings for our 2020 season will be announced soon. Courses will be announced by November 15th and enrollment will open to the general public starting November 30th Don’t miss out on these announcements by keeping up to date on our website and newsletter


Interested in getting first dibs on class offerings for next summer? While Return2U is closed, you can still register for the 2020 season by joining the Welcome2U program. Join by October 31st to get your first pick of classes two days earlier than the general public. 

By signing up for Welcome2U, you will receive these benefits:

  • Get Early Access: Select your classes two days before enrollment opens to the public.
  • Priority Enrollment Discount: Get $100 off tuition.
  • Stay in the know: Learn about new classes and other Usdan news.
  • Cancel without consequence: Cancel your registration before November 30 and receive your full deposit back. 

For more information, visit our Welcome2U page. 


We Miss U: Photos from the Summer

Though it’s only been a few weeks since camp ended, we already miss seeing you around campus. We hope students will keep creating in the off-season and we would love to see some of that work. If your child makes art in the way of participating in a theater production, playing at a recital, or even just painting in their sketchbook, we want to know about it. Tag us in any photos of your child’s art-making at @usdanarts on Instagram. Feel free to also send photos to campdirector@usdan.org and we might feature you in next month’s newsletter. 

Here’s the photos from all the students who took and submitted pics of their summer at Usdan.

 Thank you to all the students who contributed to the newsletter.

Andrew G.
Ben S.
Bradley Z.
Christina P.
Esti R.
Jake B.
Julia F.
Maddie D.
Nydia T.
Sadie G.
Sara R.
Riya D.
Vassilia S.

Looking Back and Staying Connected 

If you and your family want to look back on these summer memories, you can find images and video in our old newsletters as well as our Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube channel.

Follow our Instagram and Facebook for updated content, and subscribe to our YouTube to rewatch Festival Performances and weekly recap videos.


We Need U

At Usdan, we believe all children should have the opportunity to experience a safe and encouraging space for creativity and artistic passion on our beautiful campus. Tuition, however, only pays a portion of the cost needed to keep our departments, facilities, and studios running smoothly. The success of Usdan and our ability to provide an enriching summer filled with learning, collaboration, and friendship to children all depends on the support of generous donors like you.

Scholarship Fund 

As we get begin to turn our efforts towards Usdan’s 2020 season, it remains a priority for us that cost not be an obstacle for students who wish to attend Usdan for a summer. Nearly 500 of our students receive aid in the form of need-based or merit scholarships. Every year, we provide approximately $1.5 million in scholarships to these families. However, the demand far exceeds our ability to provide aid to hundreds of students. We want to increase this goal and continue to make Usdan accessible to more students who want to attend. You can help us in that effort with a gift of any size by clicking here and selecting ‘Scholarship’ when making your donation. 

Reimagine Fund

On August 14, 2018, a fire claimed two of our beloved studios and allowed us to uncover some additional repair needs. Looking forward, we are Reimagining  buildings across Usdan as we improve infrastructure and create a campus for our next fifty years.

As we continue Reimagining, our financial needs continue.  You can help us in that effort with a gift of any size by clicking here and selecting ‘The Reimagine Fund’ when making your donation. You can also read more about our Reimagine efforts here.


Merch Item of the Month: Baseball Caps

Even though temperatures are dropping, you still need protection from damaging sun rays. Whether you’re excited for the upcoming World Series or just a huge Usdan fan, these baseball caps are a great accessory for the end of summer. Coming in two different designs, these hats are priced at $12.

If you wish to purchase this or one of our other merch items, visit our online store. We will mail your orders to you within two weeks.

#AMoreSustainableU: Sustainability Tips and Tricks

Going into the 2019 summer, one of our top priorities was focusing on sustainability and environmental consciousness. We are continuing these sustainability efforts into the off-season. We would love to hear how you incorporate sustainability into your household. 

Our New York office has adopted almost all of these practices in the last year and hopes to expand our sustainability efforts in the off-season:

  • Once the weather starts dropping, consider putting on extra layers before turning up the heat.
  • Print documents only when necessary.
  • Always unplug electronics when not in use.
  • Bring in a desk plant to improve indoor air quality and add some nature to the office environment.
  • Use cloth towels and napkins in the kitchen and bathroom.
  • Eat less meat to reduce your carbon footprint.
  • Start a compost bin with food scraps. 
The New York staff has been keeping our compost bin in the freezer to prevent odors and attracting pests. We drop ours off at a compost center every Tuesday.


What’s New With U? – Week 7

What’s Inside

What’s New With U? – Week Seven

The seventh and final week of camp had vocalists belting beautifully, dancers posing powerfully, and chess players cheering “checkmate.”

On Monday, Senior Instrumental Ensembles took to the stage, playing a variety of pieces from upbeat tangos to reimagined Beethoven classics. On Tuesday, Usdan dancers showed us their best jazz hands, hip-hop moves, and pirouettes. The dance party continued Wednesday as Dorrance Dance tapped their way onto campus. Discovery students hit the stage again on Thursday, and Junior and Senior Vocal Ensemble rounded out this season’s Festival program. 

Outside the Amphitheater, Leadership Institute got everyone in the spirit with U Day — a full day of fun activities to educate about sustainability, diversity/inclusion, and community. Wednesday afternoon Seniors celebrated the end-of-camp season with a Carnival/Pool Party, and Juniors strutted their stuff in a Parade leading from the Art department, around campus, and across the Amphitheater stage. 

Our Music and Dance classes held their final in-studio performances, and our Creative Writing storytellers closed the books on their readings. Usdan Troupe twirled their umbrellas for a Singin’ in the Rain encore, Drama Lab’s Dracula took a bite out of our hearts with their chilling talent, and Matinee Idols and DIY Theater had their curtain calls.  

At Friday’s Closing Ceremony, two Hip-Hop groups got the dance party started onstage and in the pit. Junior and Senior Vocal Ensembles sang “Siyahamba” followed by the Seniors leading a sing-a-long performance of “All You Need Is Love”. And throughout the ceremony, there was indeed a lot of love (and tears) for our incredible community, from our “Lifers” (campers who’ve attended for eight years) and staff (who’ve been at Usdan for a decade) to the graduating twelfth-graders closing out their time here. Additionally, there were a few special shoutouts to Usdan’s dedicated staff and faculty, maintenance crew, beloved Assistant House Manager, Andrew Schaeffler, and Usdan’s erstwhile mascot, Bean the pug, before the long-anticipated balloon drop.

With the last gong ring of the summer (special lighting brought to you by the Sustainable Design class), Usdan’s 2019 Season took its final bow.

Stay in touch – and see U next summer!

Here’s Looking at U

#AMoreSustainableU: Sustainability Tips and Tricks

Sustainability has been a big focus for us all summer, but these efforts don’t have to end just because the season is over. We encourage all Usdanites to continue to lead sustainable and environmentally conscious, as well as artistic, lives throughout the year.  

First-year Usdanite, Aissatou Bah, is already walking the walk and taking action. A dancer and sustainability advocate, Aissatou launched a petition for bus companies to be more sustainable.

Check out the video below to see what inspired her to start this campaign and where she hopes it will go after the summer ends. 


Finally, here’s bit of inspiration take us into the weekend:

“You’re off to great places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, so get on your way!” – Dr. Seuss

Summer Learning #Goals

Take a look inside the Usdan classroom to see how our teachers and staff are collaborating with students and what their summer goals are. For this week’s segment, we asked Alicia Thompson, Intermediate Ballet, Modern/Contemporary, and West African Fusion Dance teacher to weigh in.

Alicia’s guiding question for the summer was:

“How can I best create a rewarding class experience and also have a rewarding performance experience for my students?”

With the aim to create a rewarding and fruitful dance experience, Alicia structured her class around the idea that dance is a continuous learning process.

In order to shift the focus from the performance being the end goal and being able to appreciate the act of dance-making more thoroughly, she worked to build a movement vocabulary in class to later be used for a larger piece of work. With this method, she was able to emphasize the importance of the learning process by teaching the dancers small phrases that she would later piece together for their performance.

Alicia also opened the floor for students to have more input in the class and performance process. She gave them the opportunity to choose what step from the vocabulary to practice first across the floor. For the performance, she gave them the liberty to work in peer-led smaller groups when fine-tuning and critiquing the dance.

Alicia reflected on the experience of learning and performing with her students after their performance this week.

Gearing Up: Merch Item of the Week

This week’s merch item is the Usdan towel.

Yes, camp is ending, but summer is still here for a little bit longer. Whether you’re lounging by the pool or catching waves at the beach or singing in the shower, you can bring along a little piece of Usdan with you.

Snag one of these towels for $10 and find more merch at the Usdan shop online or at our Welcome Center.

Up Next: Upcoming Events and Programming

We’re sad to see this summer come to a close, but we’re already looking forward to the 2020 season! Return2U closes at midnight August 16th, so pre-register now. 

By joining Return2U, you can receive 2019 rates and other perks. You must enroll in the same session length or longer than in 2019. 

Administration Corner

Don’t leave it behind

We’ll keep the memories of this summer forever, but we want to make sure that you get all of your children’s stuff back, from wayward water bottles, towels, lunch boxes, to art they created. 

The Long Island office will be open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on August 19th and 20th, if you want to come by to pick up anything left behind. Please call first. FYI: We are happy to bring your child’s artwork back to the New York office for pick-up in September, just let us know.

Also, as a reminder, the Usdan Long Island office will be closed from August 21st through September 8th. Our New York office will be available via phone starting September 5th. 

Looking Back and Staying Connected 

If you and your family want to look back on these summer memories, you can find images and video on our Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube channel.

Follow our Instagram and Facebook for updated content, and subscribe to our YouTube to rewatch Festival Performances and weekly recap videos.


Executive Director Lauren Brandt Schloss has been giving us a blast from the past all season with these Polaroid photos.  Here’s the last batch for Summer 2019.

What Do U Think? Weekly Poll Question

This week, we asked campers: How will you take the spirit of Usdan with you after summer ends? Tell us at tellus@usdan.org.

Thank you to Lauren Brandt Schloss, Executive Director,
and our Newsletter Team for 2019.
Text: Meryl Cooper and Nicole Martinez
Video: Dave Schaeffler, Lucas Cavanaugh, Lindsay Rothenberg
Photo: Zoe Finn, Wayne Vollweiler, Lafiya Watson, Matt Zugale