The dramatic start to the new academic year – an opening of a landmark new Hillel House: The Diamond Foundation Centre for Jewish Campus Life at UBC and the hectic confluence of Jewish holidays beginning in the first week of classes – has resulted in exceptional growth in student engagement.
Last week, both Simon Fraser University and the University of Victoria held Club Days, with excellent sign-up results of Hillel clubs. The University of B.C. Club Days take place this week, from Wednesday to Friday, with even more spectacular results expected, due in large part to the magnificent new facility just opened.
Annual Welcome Back and Rosh Hashanah celebrations took place in Vancouver and Victoria last Thursday, with unprecedented turnout for a barbecue at the Victoria Hillel House and an overflow crowd of SFU and UBC students at the Maple Grill in Vancouver.
Student leaders at SFU and UVic are jubilant over the results of their outreach efforts, saying it is evidence of an excellent year already underway.
The huge spike in new members at UVic is especially hopeful, since a large number of student leaders graduated in the spring and new students are stepping up to take leadership roles.
At SFU, where clubs days netted large numbers of first-year students, the result is a sign of continued growth following a successful year in 2009-10.
The new leaders will have the opportunity to gain practical skills at the Vancouver Hillel Student Leadership Retreat, taking place at UBC, from October 22 – 24. The retreat, which will welcome students from the three campuses and beyond, is to focus on polishing transferable skills like presentation techniques, marketing principles and outreach efforts.