College campuses are places of great opportunity for young Jews, but also present substantial challenges to Jewish identity and engagement. Because students often have both academic responsibilities and a multitude of social activities to choose from, Jewish professionals are constantly competing for students’ attention, trying new programs and strategies to engage Jewish students creatively and meaningfully.
Two years ago, our College Campus Activities Committee, a group of committed lay leaders from The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles chaired by longtime Federation lay leader and Jewish education advocate Virginia Maas, was convened to examine how Jewish students are engaging with Jewish life on campus. As part of their work, the CCAC provides small grants to promising campus programs, to enable them to make a bigger impact on the campus communities they serve.
After three grant cycles, it is abundantly clear that students connect to Jewish life in a multitude of different ways – from traditional organizations like Hillel, to Jewish studies departments, fraternity and sorority life, and even more are connected to the Jewish holiday cycle, or baking traditional Challah bread. The latest grant cycle drew applications from past recipients, as well as from campus-based organizations which are newly connected to Federation. The 34 proposals reflected students’ multi-channel approach to Jewish engagement, with projects ranging from Israeli American student group programming to text based learning and peer based networking internship programs.
After much consideration and some difficult decisions the Committee granted funding to 17 programs or initiatives for the 2013-2014 academic year – representing 2 new organizations, 7 returning organizations and 9 campuses. (Some organizations had multiple programs funded by our committee.):
We are proud to announce the 2013-2014 Grantees*:
• Hillel 818 – FACE Internship
• Hillel 818 – Hillel L’Chaim Tovim
• JLIC at UCLA – 818 Collaboration
• JLIC at UCLA – Jewish Medical Network
• JLIC at UCLA – Peer2Peer Learning
• Tzofim/Israel Scouts – Mishelanu
• LMU Hillel- Student Engagement Fellows Program
• Remember Us/Jewish World Watch- Alternative Spring Break/Righteous Action fellowship
• SMC Hillel – Nurturing the Seed
• UCLA Hillel – Graduate Student Convening
• UCLA Hillel – Jewish Rocks
• UCLA Hillel – Peer Network-Based Leadership
• UCLA Hillel – Freshmen Engagement programs
• USC Hillel – Campus Entrepreneurship Initiative
• USC Hillel – Birthright Follow-up Fellowship
• USC Hillel – Freshman Engagement Initiative
• USC Hillel – Tzedek Initiative
Through these programming grants to campus professionals and student groups, we hope to expand the reach and scope of the opportunities these organizations provide for their students and communities.
For more information on how our Federation supports Jewish life on campus, contact David Harris, Campus Activities Coordinator, at DHarris@JewishLA.org, or click here to view our available campus activities.