Their clothes are unpacked, their books are bought, and their parents are driving the now-empty minivans back home. Now it's time for Jewish students nationwide to find their place on campus, and Hillel professionals are ready with a multitude of activities that appeal to both new and returning students.
As always, food is a popular and effective way to draw newcomers to events. At the University of Wisconsin-Madison and The Ohio State University, students can learn to roll sushi. New Orleans Hillel is sponsoring a s'mores party, where students can make new friends while enjoying a childhood camp favorite. Jewish upperclassmen at Rochester Area Hillel in New York will give incoming freshmen a sweet start to their day by delivering Krispy Kreme donuts to their dorms one morning.
To counteract those Krispy Kreme calories, students can get moving with Hillel, too. Students at the University of Arizona can join Hillel's outdoor adventure group, the Extremists!, for tubing and spelunking excursions. Jewish Hoosiers will play laser tag with Indiana University Hillel, and after havdalah services, University of Southern California students will bowl their way into a new week.
Tzedek programming is an integral part of many welcome weeks. Students at New York University will share stories with Holocaust survivors at an intergenerational lunch. With the presidential election just a few months away, many Hillels are organizing "get out the vote" committees, like at the University of Minnesota. Students from Cleveland area colleges will pitch in at community-wide cemetery preservation project.
Students will get a taste of the Israeli cultural and advocacy programs on their campuses. Hookah Night at Central Florida Hillel will introduce students to an ancient Middle Eastern tradition, and Brandeis University Hillel is sponsoring Hookah in the Sukkah. Both novice and experienced dancers can enjoy Israeli dancing at Hillel at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Many Hillels will offer information sessions on birthright israel trips and encourage students to get involved in Israeli advocacy groups, such as the University of California, Irvine's Anteaters for Israel.