Posted on Jun 30, 2009

Union College Hillel, the Jewish student life group, has been selected by Hillel international to take part in the “Small and Mighty Campuses of Excellence II,” a pilot program to enhance Jewish life on small college campuses.


Hillel Small and Mighty

Organized and funded by the Soref Initiative for Emerging Campuses, the program offers specialized training and financial resources, including new opportunities for Alternative Break trips, grants, site visits from a Hillel Schusterman International Center representative, and priority for Taglit, an organization that provides educational trips to Israel for Jewish young adults between 18 and 26.

Union and six other colleges – Dickinson College, Elon University, Hamilton College, Kenyon College, Smith/Amherst Colleges and Wellesley College – are part of the second cohort of schools to be designated Small and Mighty.  

Hillel aims to increase student engagement at these schools by 30 percent and double the number of Jewish students participating in immersion experiences.

“Hillel at Union is an example of how a small college can provide great opportunities for Jewish life on campus with limited resources,” said Union Hillel Director Bonnie Cramer. “Our involvement as a Small and Mighty campus means that Hillel may receive grant money to support an alternative spring break project as well bring Jewish authors to campus and provide networking among similar campuses.”

Approximately 17 percent of Union’s student body is Jewish, and members of Hillel have included students from all denominations of Judaism. Hillel-organized events include Shabbat services and home-cooked dinners, academic forums, holiday celebrations and Taglit-birthright trips to Israel.

The largest Jewish campus organization in the world, Hillel provides opportunities for Jewish students at more than 500 colleges and universities to explore and celebrate their Jewish identity through its global network of regional centers, campus foundations and Hillel student organizations.

“We want to ensure that despite the small population, Jewish students feel engaged in Jewish life and have access to the same opportunities as do campuses with large Jewish student populations,” said Deb Geiger, director of the Small and Mighty initiative.