Though the 2005-06 school year is still in progress, Hillels across the country are looking toward the future by making plans for new buildings. From Florida to California and many places in between, many Hillels are undergoing capital campaigns that will allow them to build or refurbish inviting facilities to serve thousands of Jewish students.
For more information about any of the current campaigns, contact the Hillel professional listed for each campus.
Hillels of Georgia is well into a capital campaign to construct a new Hillel facility at Emory University, according to Executive Director Jacob Schreiber. A $3 million matching grant by the Marcus Foundation has increased the campaign's momentum, and Hillels of Georgia has raised $6.85 million of the $8 million needed to construct the 17,000-square-foot Marcus Jewish Life Center. A significant upgrade from Emory Hillel's current 2,700-square-foot building, the Marcus Jewish Life Center will feature a large multi-media floor for arts and cultural events, a state-of-the-art student leadership nerve center for planning meetings, kosher dining facilities and caf.
Florida Atlantic University
Construction has already begun on the new Levine-Weinberger Jewish Life Center (JLC) at Florida Atlantic University, which will be part of a new university library building, and Hillel of Broward and Palm Beach is close to its fundraising goal of $1.3 million. When the building opens in August, FAU students will be able to enjoy resource and meeting areas, a multi-purpose room, 24-hour study area and a kosher coffee bar. Though the ribbon-cutting is still several months away, Executive Director Darin Diner is already looking forward to providing new and improved programs to the 1,800 Jewish students at FAU, adding that "not only will it give Hillel program and administrative space, but a place for everyone to feel welcome and at home."
Kent State University
"As the only Jewish organization in all of Portage County, we need to be a center of Jewish life in which students can take pride," said Kent State University Hillel Executive Director Jennifer Chestnut. With that goal in mind, Kent State University Hillel is hoping to break ground this summer or fall on a new facility that will include a student lounge, media room, worship space and possibly student laundry facilities. Chestnut reports that $2.5 million has already been raised, including a $2 million grant from the Jewish Community Federation of Cleveland, and plans to raise an additional $1 million.
With 5,000 Jewish students, Rutgers University has the fourth largest population of Jewish students of any campus in America and is the only campus with 2,000 or more Jewish students without a new Hillel facility, according to Executive Director Andrew Getraer. So Rutgers Hillel has embarked upon a $15 million campaign to construct a new building with a kosher dining hall, three sanctuaries, work-out space, an Israel resource center and a cafe/restaurant with professional food service. Getraer envisions a vast improvement from Rutgers Hillel's current facility, which is "too small, in poor condition, completely inadequate for present needs and an impediment to future growth."
San Diego State University and University of California, San Diego
Hillel of San Diego has the distinction of running two capital campaigns simultaneously to build new facilities at San Diego State University and the University of California, San Diego. Though ground-breaking plans are still in the future, Executive Director Rabbi Lisa Goldstein notes that "at UCSD it will give students a facility – a Jewish space – for the first time! And at SDSU, it will move Hillel up from a dilapidated, old house to a state-of-the-art sophisticated presence." Goldstein hopes to raise $4-5 million for the SDSU building and $7-8 million for UCSD.
Though the Taube Hillel House at Harold and Libby Ziff Center for Jewish Life at Stanford University opened early last year, a campaign is underway to construct a second building, the Koret Pavilion, which will provide space for larger venue events, a full-service kosher kitchen, a dining hall, a caf lounge and a dedicated worship space. Supporters have pledged $6 million – enough to begin construction – though another $500,000 must be raised to complete the project. Executive Director Adina Danzig reports that "the transformative effect that the Ziff Center already has had on student interest and engagement is readily evident," and she is eager to see how the Koret Pavilion will help Jewish life flourish even further at Stanford.
Groundbreaking for the Edward H. Rosen Center for Jewish Life at Temple University is scheduled to begin this fall, and Hillel of Greater Philadelphia has raised more than half the necessary funds for the $5 million campaign. The new facility will double the size of the current building and feature a coffee bar/caf, wireless Internet access and a backyard garden. According to Marla Meyers, the director of institutional advancement for Hillel of Greater Philadelphia, "the project is [being completed] in conjunction with the university, and Hillel sees many opportunities to make it a 'destination location' on campus for students, academic departments and university organizations."
University of California, Davis
"Our building was built in the mid-1960s when there were a handful of Jewish students at UCD – there are now more than 3,000. Our house is too small to handle the weekly crowds that we get," said Rabbi Mona Alfi, the executive director of Hillel at Davis and Sacramento, which is hoping to break ground next spring on a $3.5 million building. The new facility will be LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified with a solar-powered ner tamid (eternal flame) and the only official kosher kitchen in all of Yolo County.
University of Denver
Hillel of Colorado is eagerly looking forward to the beginning of the 2006-07 academic year, when its new building at the University of Denver is scheduled to open. The welcoming design includes front and side porches, a student lounge, game room, kosher meat and milk kitchen, conference room, library, student leadership office, sanctuary and multi-purpose rooms. Only $300,000 remains left to be raised for the $4 million campaign, according to Hillel of Colorado Executive Director Pat Blumenthal, who is excited about the upgrade from the 60-year-old bungalow house that currently houses DU Hillel.
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Students and professionals at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Hillel anticipate an August groundbreaking for the new $7 million Margie K. and Louis N. Cohen Center for Jewish Life, which will feature a rooftop deck for sukkahs and BBQs, a large student lounge area and meat and dairy kosher kitchens. "With numerous program spaces of varying sizes and personalities, the Cohen Center for Jewish Life will allow for a diversity of programming be they large, small or in between. More importantly, the space will facilitate multiple programs or student groups meeting simultaneously," said Executive Director Joel Schwitzer, who adds that UIUC Hillel is more than halfway toward its fundraising goal.
University of Wisconsin, Madison
"Currently we have a very strong program in a tattered facility. We lack space for students to just come and be students," said University of Wisconsin, Madison Hillel Executive Director Greg Steinberger. But thanks to a $14 million campaign that is currently underway, UW Hillel hopes to start construction within the next two years on a four-story building that will include space for 35 student groups, worships services, a street-side cafe, a full kosher food program and a fitness center. Supporters have already pledged $5.5 million, and many opportunities remain to get involved.