“Bringing it Back to Campus” begins on page 32 of the Student Workbook. Hundreds of students will participate in this program for two hours at Hillel Engagement Institute, but this principle has guided me all summer long in my internship at the Schusterman International Center. I have worked on a plethora of projects this summer, including content development of Network Mapping & Weaving, creating a PR plan with my fellow interns, and yes, compiling and editing the Student Workbook. As I enriched content and formatted each program in the Student Workbook, I kept one question in the back of my mind throughout: How I can bring these new skills and organizational knowledge back to the University of Maryland to strengthen the Jewish community in my final year?
There are a few main aspects of Hillel International I will take back with me to College Park. The first is Hillel’s atmosphere as a ‘Professional Home.’ From the first day, I noticed a striking balance between the structured setting of a large organization and the fun and laughter heard throughout all of the floors. The Jewish leadership at Maryland has our sights set high on all we want to achieve this year, and I know I will make sure we strike this same balance of work and play as we achieve our goals.
The next facet of Hillel I want to bring back is the focus on each individual person. Everyone from the Hillel International staff, to those in the field, to the student leaders across the world has their own story, and it is up to us to engage them. Coming from a particularly large Jewish community at Maryland, with nearly 6,000 Jews, it is not difficult to reach the target numbers for our program attendance. However, this year I want to place an extra focus on each individual who shows up, in order to help him or her have a more meaningful connection at each event and a deeper connection to the Jewish community.
In addition to all that I have already learned in Washington, DC at Hillel International, I know I will learn even more on site at Hillel Institute in St. Louis, MO next week. I am re-energized and excited for Maryland Hillel and the Jewish community to thrive this coming year, and I know I will be able to help make that happen because of the valuable experiences I have gained this summer. From strategic thinking, to working as an intern team, to professional development seminars, I have learned myriad skills to bring back and cannot wait for the fall at UMD.
Joshua Gilstein is a Conference Coordinator Intern with Hillel at the Schusterman International Center in Washington, DC. He is a rising senior at the University of Maryland, College Park where he is President of the Jewish Student Union and on the board of the Reform Jewish Community.