As the school year winds down for most American college students, universities across the country are hosting awards ceremonies to recognize those student groups which have made the most contributions to the campus.
KU Hillel student leaders receive award from Director of KU Student Involvement and Leadership Center Ruben Perez.
At Kansas University, KU Hillel swept the recent Jayhawk Choice Awards, hosted by KU's Student Involvement and Leadership Center. In addition to being named "KU Student Organization of the Year" out of more than 500 student clubs for the second year in a row, KU Hillel won three other major university awards.
Rock Chalk Shabbat, a Friday night service and campus-wide dinner organized by KU Hillel, was named "Program of the Year." Rock Chalk Shabbat, named for KU's famous Rock Chalk Chant, is an annual fall tradition. This year, it drew 500 people and included live entertainment.
KU Hillel's student-led alternative spring break to Washington, D.C. won "Social Justice Progam of the Year" and KU Hillel Board Member Max Stettner was named "Student Organization Member of the Year."
Jay Lewis, executive director of KU Hillel, says it is the students who make KU Hillel such a successful campus organization.
"We have a lot to be proud of," Lewis said. "KU Hillel students are making a tremendous impact on campus. Each year, the momentum grows."
This year, three KU Hillel students received prestigious awards for their involvment with the organization.
KU Hillel Executive Director Jay Lewis presents Liz Cohen with the Student Exemplar of Excellence Award.
At the 2008 Summit on the University and the Jewish Community, hosted by Hillel in Washington, D.C., Liz Cohen was named as one of the recipients of the Philip H. and Susan Rudd Cohen Student Exemplar of Excellence Awards. Only seven student leaders from around the world received the honor. The awards are presented to Hillel students who exemplify leadership on campus and within the community and help advance Hillel’s mission.
Megan Williams, KU Hillel's graduate student intern, was named “Outstanding Woman in Partnership” by the university's Emily Taylor Women’s Resource Center.
Nick Lush, a student board member at KU Hillel, will receive the 2008 Campanile Award at KU’s commencement ceremony on May 18. Lush was selected for displaying remarkable leadership, strength of character and respect for the university as an undergraduate at Kansas University.
Simmons Hillel Seniors Leah Maroni Wagner, Nikki Cohen, Aveva Mack, Rachel Wallen and Whitney Kemp with Hillel President Juliana Ross.
The day before Passover began, at Simmons College in Massachusetts, Simmons Hillel was recognized as "Student Organization of the Year."
Ailene Gerhardt, director of Simmons Hillel, attributes the honor to the tireless efforts of the Jewish student leadership which produced tremendously successful programming throughout the 2007-8 school year.
During the Simmons College awards ceremony, specific mention was made of Hillel's work promoting Black-Jewish dialogue through programs such as a musical performance by the Afro-Semitic Experience and a comedy performance by the two man Black-Jew Diaglogues.
Hillel students with the Simmons President Susan Scrimshaw at Purim carnival.
"A great organization can make a world of difference to not only its constituents but also the greater Simmons community," said Michelle Vital, assistant director of student leadership and activities as she presented Simmons Hillel with its award. "The true mark of a great organization is not [producing] programs to be recognized but programs [that] make a true connection between their mission and the needs of the community. There is a synergy about them that causes those around them to become excited."
Simmons Hillel was the only student organization to receive two nominations for "Program of the Year." This year's first-ever Purim Carnival and the Black-Jew Dialogues, which showcased Hillel's collaboration with the Campus Activities Board and Black Student Organization, were both contenders for the award.
Pitt Hillel President Rebecca Lehner with VoKols President Carly Adelman and VoKols VP Rebecca Lustig at awards ceremony PHOTO BY COREY BURR.
At the University of Pittsburgh, the Student Government Board and the Division of Student Affairs recognized Hillel's work for the very first time.
Not only did Pitt Hillel receive an award for "Outstanding Cultural Program of the Year," but the Hillel Jewish University Center's a capella group, the VoKols, were honored as "Performance Group of the Year" and Carly Adelman, the VoKols's president, was named "Outstanding Sophomore Leader of the Year."
Aaron Weil is the executive director of the Hillel Jewish University Center of Pittsburgh which serves Jewish students at University of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon University, Carlow College, Community College of Allegheny County, Point Park College, Chatham College and Duquesne University.
Updated listing of awards and honors given to Hillels and students by their universities:
Students for Holocaust Awareness at Colorado State University received awards for Outstanding Social Consciousness Program and Outstanding Marketing at CSU's sixth annual Student Organization Awards Recognition (SOAR) ceremony. Two CSU Hillel’s student leaders were also recognized: Molly Zwerdlinger, CSU Hillel vice-president and president of Students for Holocaust Awareness at CSU, received an award for Outstanding Sophomore Leader, and Jenny Edelman, CSU senior and Hillel president, was a runner up for Outstanding Senior Leader.
Rebecca Dauer, a senior at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, FL, was awarded the Sykes Award by the Center of Spiritual Life at Eckerd for outstanding service in religious life. Dauer, who has worked closely with the staff of the Hillel Jewish Student Center of Tampa Bay, is the first Jewish student to receive this award.
Hillel at Florida State University was awarded the "FSU - Vires Award" at the 2008 FSU Leadership Awards night. The Vires award is given to an organization that has exhibited determination and perseverance during the past year. According to the sponsoring organization
Hofstra University Hillel was honored with the Community Service Award, presented by the Office of Student Leadership and Activities at Hofstra. The award recognizes Hofstra Hillel's wide variety of quality community service and social justice programs, many of them co-sponsored by several other campus groups.
Last week Rutgers University Hillel received three Rutgers Outstanding Students Celebration and Recognition, or ROSCARS last week. Their "From Swastika to Jim Crow" event won an award for Outstanding Collaborative Program; Their "Days without Hate" program won for Best Annual Event and Avi Smolen, a Rutgers University junior and Hillel student president won for Outstanding Student Leader of the Year.
During Towson University's annual Student Affairs Leadership Awards Banquet, Towson Hillel won the Hoke L. Smith Student Organization of the Year award for the first time in its history. Towson Hillel was specifically recognized for their Israel programs, alternative breaks and social action commitments. Towson Hillel was won the award Multicultureal Program of the Year award for their Human Rights Awareness Day, an event where we organized a coalition of 10 other organizations to educate the campus about a variety of human rights issues.
Jenn Marker, a Towson University freshman and Hillel student board member, won the Mary Leeper Student Government Scholarship awarded to a freshman or sophomore actively involved in an organization that has made an impact.