This is a guest post by Michael Mauer, student president, Hillel at the University of Minnesota.
Last spring, I was elected the student president of Hillel at the University of Minnesota. It’s a post I accepted with great eagerness and excitement. As one of the largest public Universities in the nation, our campus is host to nearly 50,000 students – about 1,000 of whom are Jewish. Despite our relatively small numbers, the Jewish community has become deeply ingrained into campus culture, with Jewish students represented widely in fraternities and sororities, student government, campus political action, and other leadership posts.
In all of our Jewish community’s achievements, Hillel is the common link. Hillel’s inclusive, award-winning programming connects Jewish students to each other and builds lifelong Jewish identity. It also helps connect Jewish students on campus to other demographic groups, including Muslim students, Christian students, and African American students. These ties are essential as we strive to build support for Israel and earn allies in our fight against anti-Semitism on campus—both efforts which are especially important in these times.
My journey to Hillel is unusual. I am originally from Anchorage, Alaska. Although I have always had a Jewish identity, my hometown does not have a large Jewish population, and it was difficult to meet other Jews growing up. When I searched for a college, the University of Minnesota stood out to me, in large part, because of its thriving Jewish community. Now a rising junior, I feel a part of the Jewish community, and my social circles are largely Jewish. Like hundreds of other students, I owe this to Hillel.
It’s a legacy we have a duty to continue if we care about the future of the Jewish community in Minnesota.
Hillel’s vital programming costs money. As we are planning programming to reach out to the next group of incoming freshmen, it has become clear that for us to be most effective, we need more support from the community. I have set a bold goal of getting 1,000 people to give $18 (Life) to Hillel, by August 15. With these added resources, we will be effective in creating lifelong connections for the incoming class of Jewish students. In understanding the importance of this work, consider how the Jewish community’s outreach shaped your life in college. It sure has changed my life.
Please consider helping us reach more Jewish students. Give $18 today (through GiveMN) and help us reach our goal. Be assured, your essential support will not go unnoticed by students who don’t yet even know the tremendous impact Hillel will have in their lives.
Editor’s note: At the time of posting, $550 has been contributed to the campaign. Only $17,450 to go!
(Photo: Hillel of MN)