Campus Affairs & Student Engagement

Mensch’s Guide to Campus Activism

Guide to Campus Activism

A Mensch's Guide to Campus Activism
Connecting college students to worldly issues.


The Hillels of Illinois
Regional Programs
30 S. Wells St.
Chicago, IL 60606
phone: (312) 444-2868
fax: (312) 855-2479

Lewis Summer
Intern Program
The Hillels of Illinois
30 S. Wells St.
Chicago, IL 60606
phone: (312) 444-2868

College Blog

Hillel Blog

Educating about Israel: Promoting real peace

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Celebrating Israel on the Quad 

By Alana Rubin

At the University of Illinois, the pro-Israel student leaders have been planning programs and lectures addressing what is happening currently in the UN. In September, a Palestinian bid for statehood was officially submitted to the Security Council of the United Nations. One of the main campaigns that these students have been pushing for is "Real Partners. Real Peace (RPRP)."  This initiative calls for "an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, through direct negotiations with responsible partners."

The first event planned for the RPRP initiative was a live screening of David Makovsky and Ghaith al-Omari speaking to students that being pro-Israel or pro-Palestine are not mutually exclusive traits. They stressed how important it was for both sides to return to direct negotiations in order to achieve a peaceful resolution to the conflict.

The day after the screening, Israel Illini, the pro-Israel advocacy group, tabled on the quad for the RPRP Initiative. Various organizations like Hasbara and the JUF/Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago's Israel Education Center produced materials that we distributed, and provided our group with T-Shirts and funding to educate our campus. Our presence on the quad was so successful that we tabled again the following week as a joint coalition with the Jewish Education Team.

On September 22nd, when Abbas and Netanyahu were speaking to the United Nations, a large group of students gathered at Hillel to watch the speeches and reactions live on TV. This impromptu gathering demonstrates how more and more students in college are becoming informed about what is going on in the UN and in turn, becoming advocates for Israel. There is an "Israel Illini" Facebook group where students have been asking questions in regards to the bid for statehood and other students are eager to help answer the questions proposed.

The screening, tabling, and information via online resources have been very successful teaching students about what is going on in the UN and spreading the RPRP message of direct and peaceful negotiations. Throughout the semester, we will continue to table on the quad and educate students about the initiative.

--Alana Rubin is a Hillel/JUF's Israel Education Center Intern at the University of Illinois

Hanging out with Northwestern Hillel

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FYSH Event

"During my Freshman year, despite encouragement from my parents, going to Hillel seemed overwhelming for me. That was until I started attending the Challah for Hunger program each week. Challah for Hunger is a national organization that bakes and sells challah each week to benefit hunger relief efforts in Darfur and in Evanston. The chapter here at Northwestern began just 2 years ago with the help of Hillel, and we have developed a strong presence on campus allowing many students a chance to make a difference in the world while having a new social experience. I have met some of my best friends as a result of my trek to Hillel to participate in Challah for Hunger each week, and I have confidence that this Hillel group will continue to provide that same opportunity to others far into the future." Sydney Black

"FYSH (First Year Students of Hillel) hosted an event where we celebrated the holiday of Sukkot by noshing on pita pizza in the Sukkah! Not only was it a great way to recognize the holiday but also a great way to socialize with old and new friends. There were many familiar faces but there was also a large turnout of freshman interested in getting involved with Hillel. They had a great time eating pizza and getting to meet members of their own class as well as members of other classes!" Hannah Newman

Sukkot and Latino-Jewish celebrations at Loyola University

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Sukkot at Loyola!  

Because of the prominent location on the campus of the Hillel at Loyola Sukkah - right on the Sheridan Road curve - with a huge sign that says "SHALOM FROM HILLEL AT LOYOLA" - Sukkot programs at Loyola are campus events.

Hillel students gathered during Fall Break and beautifully decorated the sukkah, and this year Hillel at Loyola students hosted a "Shabbat Under the Stars" dinner, "Subs in the Sukkah" for Homecoming Weekend, the annual "Sukkah Open House" with invitations sent to university departments throughout Loyola, "Tea in the Sukkah" for the Russian Jewish Senior Citizens whose residence building is near campus, and finally, the major campus-wide party "Hookah in the Sukkah BBQ!" Sabrina Melekson, Hillel at Loyola Vice-President, said, "It makes me very proud that our Hillel Sukkah is so central to our campus and that so many people from all over the university come to visit the Sukkah and learn about our holiday."

Sukkot Decorating at Loyola

Students decorating for Sukkot festivities!

Latino Heritage Month  

In the tradition of being the Jewish voice on campus and outreaching to every area of student life, Hillel at Loyola was again one of the sponsors of the Loyola University Chicago Latino Heritage Month. Hillel's particular program for the month was entitled "The Jewish Voice in Latin Cinema" and was co-sponsored with a Latino co-ed fraternity and a Latina sorority.

There was a kosher Latin dinner, Latin music, and Surprise giveaways!

"Derecho do Familia" ("Family Law"), a Latin/Jewish-themed film in Spanish with English subtitles was screened. Set in Argentina, a young man struggles with married life, fatherhood, and his relationship to his own father. Marcela Brusa, Hillel Faculty Board Member and Spanish Instructor in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures, introduced the film.

Emely Reyes, the President of Lambda Theta Alpha Latina sorority, said, "It is so wonderful to learn about the Latino Jewish communities and to have great Latin kosher food!" Marcela Brusa said, "The Hillel program for Latino Heritage month gets larger every year. This year we ran out of chairs! It is a great indication of how Hillel reaches across the university to share information about Jewish life and culture."

Loyola Latino Heritage Month

Latino Heritage Month Committee of Latino and Jewish students.