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

Scott, Lewis Summer Intern, writes about his experience

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"Sure, I leave this internship with a greater understanding of how to work in journalism. But more importantly, I leave it with a greater understanding of the Jewish community. I leave it knowing that despite all our differences, we are all a part of something. We are all a part of the Jewish community." 


Levine Hillel at UIC Receives National Accreditation

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The official press release from Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life regarding Levine Hillel's re-accreditation:

WASHINGTON, D.C. (September, 2009) – The William & Mildred Levine Hillel Center at University of Illinois at Chicago was re-accredited last week by the Board of Directors of Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life. The accreditation recognizes its adherence to Hillel’s international standards of excellence. 

To receive accreditation, Hillels must demonstrate compliance with standards of excellence in the areas of governance, student programs, communications, resources and management systems. The Hillel accreditation team – comprising an international center staff member, a student, a field staff member and a lay leader – also evaluates the Hillel’s relationship with its university and local Jewish community.
“We are proud to grant accreditation to Levine Hillel Center at UIC,” said Hillel President Wayne L. Firestone. “We are confident that this Hillel is providing the best level of service to students on this campus.”

“The accreditation self study provided an excellent opportunity for the many stakeholders in UIC Hillel—students, faculty, administration and community members—to come together in a renewed commitment to our Hillel,” said Marla Baker, Executive Director of the Levine Hillel Center.  “The process led to the addition of a Rabbi/Jewish educator to the Hillel staff this year and the creation of the Peer Network Engagement Internship program (PNEI) that we launched this fall.  With more Jewish students choosing UIC every year these additional resources make a huge impact.”

Accredited campuses represent a broad range of organizational profiles: small and large schools, residential and commuter campuses, as well as public and private universities.  Every Hillel has been assigned a date for participation, with the goal of accreditation for all Hillel Foundations and Program Centers.
The largest Jewish campus organization in the world, Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life seeks to inspire every Jewish student to make an enduring commitment to Jewish life through its network of more than 500 campus foundations, program centers and affiliates.  Hillel enriches the lives of Jewish undergraduate and graduate students of all backgrounds so they may enrich the Jewish people and the world.

Hillels welcome back students

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Hillels across Illinois campuses are welcoming new and returning Jewish students back to school, connecting them to each other, to Hillel staff, and to their community on campus. On a number of campuses, students have already had their first Shabbat experience of the new semester. Busy back-to-school schedules have also included, amongst many activities, an Israeli-style rooftop party at the Cohen Center in Urbana-Champaign, welcome-packets sent by Loyola Hillel to each new Jewish student that included invites to dinner out with Jewish students, and a bonfire at UIC’s Levine Hillel at which new students met for the first time. Hillels on campuses that haven’t yet started their semesters are also gearing up for the arrival of new and returning students. On September 14th, Fiedler Hillel will hold its Freshman Fest, an overnight event that welcomes new students to campus the day before they move into dorms, providing an “inside scoop” to life at Northwestern for Jewish students.

For more information on campuses or to learn more about connecting a student to Jewish life on campus, please contact the Hillels of Illinois or visit our campuses page for contact information.

Benefit 2009 a success!

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2009 BenefitThe Hillels of Illinois Benefit 2009, co-chaired by Dana Gordon and Frances H. Krasnow was a fun evening of great food and drink, mingling with Hillel supporters and students, a silent auction, hilarious entertainment from ComedySportz, and a decadent dessert reception featuring hand-made chocolates. Thanks to all our guests for making the evening such a success, and thanks to all our supporters for ensuring that Jewish student life continues to thrive throughout Illinois.

SlavZinger Photography donated their services for the evening in support of The Hillels of Illinois. View all the great photos from the event and enter in "hillel benefit 2009". 

Special thanks to all of those businesses, organizations and individuals who donated goods or services for the Silent Auction: Wendy & Scott Abrams; Campus Colors of Highland Park; Jill & Jeff Cherner; the Cohen Center for Jewish Life at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign; Elizabeth & Jerry Ettinger; the Fiedler Hillel at Northwestern University - Jewish Theater Ensemble; Dana & Lee Gordon; Ted Kahan of Alagem Capital Group – Hilton Los Cabos Beach & Golf Resort; Dr. Colman R. Kraff of the Kraff Eye Institute; Fran Krasnow & Seth Pines; the Levine Hillel Center at the University of Illinois at Chicago; Mona Michelsen, MS, Certified Message Therapist and Certified Yoga Instructor; Larry Plawsky of Beam Global Spirits & Wine; Lynn Reisner; Fred Rosenwasser of New York Jewelers; Lynda Ross of Rent-A-Chef, Inc.; Judy & Bill Siskel; Vadim Molochinkov and Slav Zinger of SlavZinger Photography; and Barry Weiner. 

Lewis Summer Intern Program winds down

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LSIP 2009After another successful summer of social service and learning, The Hillels of Illinois Lewis Summer Intern Program (LSIP) ends this week. This year's program gave 29 students--including two from Ukraine and two from Israel--the opportunity to work in various fields in agencies and departments of Jewish Federation throughout the Chicago area and also learn together in Jewish and social service-related seminars. The interns also participated in a three-day orientation at the outset of their LSIP summer, touring Federation agencies and strengthening their group through a fun team-building course, and later set out on a weekend retreat at the Perlstein Resort & Conference Center where they worked together to create an inclusive Shabbat experience in a beautiful setting.

UIUC's Joel Schwitzer Named to Forty Under Forty by Central Illinois Business Magazine

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Joel Schwitzer, the Executive Director of the Hillel Foundation at the University of Illinois has been recognized for his outstanding commitment and measurable successes as a community leader in Illinois. Central Illinois Business Magazine has included Joel in its annual Forty Under 40 Awards to honor his dedication to non-profit causes. In his sixth year in Champaign-Urbana, Joel manages a million dollar budget in programming and outreach efforts for Jewish Illini. Together with a team of dedicated volunteers and professionals, Joel worked to secure the funding and oversee the building of the Margie K. and Louis N. Cohen Center for Jewish Life, a state-of-the-art facility to better serve the varied needs of Jewish students on campus. Reaching beyond Hillel, Joel has volunteered with and fostered extensive relationships with other community and university leaders, including the Champaign-Urbana Diversity Network, Religious Workers Association, among others. Joel shares his commitment to community affairs with his wife Beri and their daughters Zoe and Mira.

Celebrate the launch the Jewish Alumni Network of the University of Illinois

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Announcing the Jewish Alumni Network, an official affiliate partner of the U of I Alumni Association. Help celebrate its establishment with other Jewish Illini at our kick-off. This event is for all alumni and friends of the University of Illinois.

Thursday August 6, 2009
Vertigo (the Dana Hotel), 660 N. State Street, Chicago
Event begins at 6pm

Door prizes include a pair of tickets to the Homecoming Game against Michigan State.

Cost is $5 in advance or $10 at the door. Register now! 
Contact jewishalumninetwork@illinoisalumni.orgfor more information.

Help Ensure the Future of The Hillels of Illinois

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Endowment Giving often begins with a Declaration of Intent. This is a moral commitment, made in writing, to provide an endowment gift to benefit the Hillels of Illinois either in one's estate plan or through a deferred lifetime gift. A donor can designate if the gift is unrestricted or to benefit a particular Hillel or program. While this commitment in not legally binding, those who sign it realize that the community is relying on their promise. Donors are encouraged to contact their qualified estate planners to discuss the best method of fulfilling this commitment. Jewish Federation staff is also available to discuss with the donor and his/her tax advisors the various vehicles available to achieve particular estate planning objectives.

Signing a quantified Declaration of Intent allows for lifetime recognition of the donor and his/her commitment. Donors are thereafter recognized as donors to the Jewish Federation's Centennial Campaign; and those who provide gifts of $100,000 or more will be permanently inscribed on the The Centenial Wall at the Jewish Federation.

For further information, please contact Deborah Samuels, Director, Agency Endowment Program, at 312-357-4853 or

Campus shots

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Couple at UICAs the school year comes to a close, we have a chance to look back on a great year filled with exciting opportunities for Jewish students to connect with each other, community, and our heritage. Planning is already underway on campuses throughout Illinois for another great year. Students interested in learning more about all the great opportunities available to them through Hillel can go to the campuses page and find their campus, or make sure to check out their campus Hillel when school starts in the fall. Here are just a few end-of-the-year photos from campuses. 

DePaul vigil showcases cooperation as strategy for dealing with all forms of hate

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For DePaul freshman Kevin Altman the May 26 “We Are DePaul” Solidarity Vigil was especially meaningful. Altman said he has been the subject of anti-Semitic taunts on campus and was encouraged by students and faculty who joined the vigil to stand up against hate and bigotry.