Hillel’s Campus Climate Initiative (CCI) Doubles in Size, Engaging University Leaders to Address Antisemitism



September 2, 2021

Hillel International’s second CCI cohort includes 19 campuses, facilitating collaboration between campus Hillel professionals and university administrators

WASHINGTON – Jewish students on campus increasingly are finding themselves unwelcome and unseen. To respond to this troubling trend, Hillel International is deploying a unique model of partnership with university administrators to address antisemitism on campus, through its Campus Climate Initiative (CCI). The program, which already saw initial successes in its pilot year, is now working with nearly 20 new campus communities in the 2021-22 academic year. 

In its first cohort of eight campuses, CCI has elevated the priority of supporting Jewish students to senior university leadership and provided administration with a common language to discuss and address challenges of antisemitism.

Along with more than doubling the number of campuses, CCI is also now partnering with the American Council on Education (ACE) to use ACE Engage, an innovative digital platform, which allows CCI to expand its pedagogical approach to education, collaboration, and community building. 

The CCI model succeeds by strengthening the relationships between Jewish student leaders, Hillel professionals and campus officials, and by educating campus administrators about the Jewish community and antisemitism. Through their collaborative work, administrators learn the tools and best practices to ensure a positive campus climate in which Jewish students feel comfortable expressing their identity and values. CCI works within institutions’ existing commitments to diversity, equity and inclusion, recognizing that Jewish students need to be supported as part of these broader efforts but that content on Jewish identity and antisemitism is often missing in these spaces. 

“Hillel believes strongly that education and relationships are at the core of addressing antisemitism on college campuses,” said Adam Lehman, president and CEO of Hillel International. “Through Hillel’s Campus Climate Initiative, universities learn the history and the skills needed to create environments where Jewish students feel safe to live and study on campus and are welcomed as part of the campus community.”

Unlike other efforts to combat antisemitism on campuses, Hillel’s Campus Climate Initiative engages higher education leaders proactively with opportunities to rigorously assess their campus climate, learn best practices and policies, and develop action plans to meaningfully improve. The year-long cohort experience facilitates learning and sharing among university administrators mutually committed to addressing campus antisemitism, creating relationships that will improve communications and coordination when antisemitic incidents and other hate targeting Jewish students occur.

As the CCI expands in its second year, Mark Rotenberg, Vice President of University Initiatives and Legal Affairs for Hillel International, commented, “I applaud these universities for taking the time and energy to learn about antisemitism and take concrete steps to improve their campus climate for Jewish students.”

This year’s cohort includes a wide variety of campuses across the United States, from large research universities to smaller liberal arts colleges, and both private and public institutions. The cohort also includes campuses that have dealt extensively with issues related to antisemitism in recent years and those that are seeking to proactively improve their campus climate for Jewish students.

The cohort for the 2021-22 academic year will include: 

  • Binghamton University
  • Case Western Reserve University<
  • Elon University
  • Florida Atlantic University
  • Goucher College
  • Ithaca College
  • Kennesaw State University
  • New York University
  • Northwestern University
  • Rutgers University
  • San Diego State University
  • San Jose State University
  • Stony Brook University
  • Temple University
  • Tufts University
  • University of Connecticut
  • University of Wisconsin–Madison
  • University of Wisconsin System
  • Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech)

The inaugural 2021 cohort includes:

  • DePaul University
  • San Francisco State University
  • The George Washington University
  • The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • The University of Texas at Austin
  • The University of Utah

About Hillel International

Founded in 1923, Hillel has been enriching the lives of Jewish students for more than 90 years. Today, Hillel International is a global organization that welcomes students of all backgrounds and fosters an enduring commitment to Jewish life, learning and Israel. Hillel is dedicated to enriching the lives of Jewish students so that they may enrich the Jewish people and the world. As the largest Jewish student organization in the world, Hillel builds connections with emerging adults at more than 550 colleges and universities, and inspires them to direct their own path.


# # #