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Leveraging Social Networks for Student Engagement: Scaling a Successful Hillel Pilot Program

by Hillel News |Oct 15, 2012|Comments

Leveraging Social Networks for Student Engagement: Monitor Institute Case Study of Hillel
In 2008, with generous support from the Jim Joseph Foundation, Hillel began testing an innovative program that leveraged peer networks and relationships to help us achieve our goal of "doubling the number of Jewish students who are involved in Jewish life and who have meaningful Jewish experiences." Piloted at 10 colleges, Hillel's Senior Jewish Educators and Campus Entrepreneurs Initiative (SJE/CEI) recruited and trained student interns to engage their campus peers in Jewish conversation and activities; it also featured "Jewish educators" whose role was to help stimulate deeper learning and growth among students interested in exploring their Judaism.

The Hillel SJE/CEI pilot program has proved extremely successful in its first four years; by the end of 2012, an estimated 22,000 Jewish students will have been newly engaged on 10 pilot campuses through the program. A two-year external evaluation found that increased student interaction with the program's interns and educators was positively correlated with their Jewish learning and growth.

Hillel's current aspiration is to scale a slightly modified version of the pilot program to 60+ more campuses in the next five years, training roughly 2,400 interns and educators to meaningfully engage an additional 133,000 students in Jewish life. We also hope to inspire another 90+ campuses to adopt a lightertouch, lower-cost engagement model, reaching an additional 64,000 Jewish students. Together, these efforts would impact nearly 200,000 Jewish students approximately one half of the entire Jewish higher-education population in the U.S.

This case study summarizes the lessons learned from the first four years of the SJE/CEI pilot program, as well as additional learning surfaced during the "planning for scale" project. Many of these lessons are relevant to any group nonprofit or funder seeking to scale its impact by leveraging social networks.

Read the case study here: Monitor_Institute_case_study_of_Hillel.pdf


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