New Hillel Affiliates: From Ski to Shining Sea

Interested in a quick dip in the Caribbean between classes or an after-class run down the slopes?

Hillel’s newest groups offer Jewish students the opportunity to do both, and more.

Hillel’s Soref Initiative for Emerging Campuses recently approved the affiliation of 21 new “Small and Mighty” groups that include Westminster College in Utah, a campus with easy access to great skiing, and, for beach lovers, St. George’s College in Grenada and American University of Antigua, Hillel’s first outposts on the Caribbean since the closure of Hillels in Cuba following the Castro Revolution.

The Soref Initiative, established through the generosity of the Samuel and Helene Soref Foundation, provides guidance, financial assistance, online resources and a communication network for Jewish students and faculty advisors on 163 campuses, ranging from small liberal arts colleges to large state universities. It is estimated that nearly 25 percent of Jewish students throughout North America attend schools with small Jewish communities.

“The Soref Initiative enables Jewish students who are on Small and Mighty campuses to find meaningful ways to explore and celebrate their Jewish identities,” says Soref Initiative Director Debra Geiger. “In addition, support from the Initiative enables schools with limited resources to take advantage of the experience of similar schools and the greater Hillel movement.”

If Jewish students in Grenada or Antigua decide to boat across to Florida Gulf Coast University, a new affiliate, they might come across graduates from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, another new Small and Mighty Hillel. They could travel up the Atlantic Coast stopping at new affiliates Armstrong Atlantic State University in Georgia, University of Mary Washington in Virginia, Salisbury University on Maryland’s Eastern Shore or, further inland, at Frostburg State University in Maryland’s western panhandle.

Students looking for an urban experience can now enjoy Jewish student life at University of Massachusetts, Boston, the New School University in Manhattan and Indiana University Purdue -University of Indianapolis.

Hillel affiliates also are open at schools with religious roots: California Lutheran University, Marymount Manhattan College, formerly a Catholic institution, and University of Redlands in California which was founded by the American Baptist Church.

New affiliates are also found at Mississippi State University, Penn State College of Medicine, Norwalk Community College in Connecticut, Clarkson University in New York, Rider University in New Jersey, and California State University, Chico.