I’ve written in Post-Its over the last two years about the methods by which UArizona Hillel was increasing engagement. Now, two years after the University reopened post-COVID, I’m pleased to report on the results of our methods.
- This academic year, UArizona Hillel reached 953 students, including 284 at great depth (for instance they came to six or more programs, they took on a major leadership role, they participated in a 10-week learning intensive, they traveled with us, etc…). We have a five-year strategic plan in place, and we exceeded our breadth goals by 82% and our depth goals by 5%, including a 40% depth increase over last year’s numbers. How does this compare to pre-COVID numbers? It’s a 56% increase in breadth and a 53% increase in depth.
- A lot of this work was done through programming: we hosted 112 events for 732 unique students. Our highest-attended event was our public Israel Shuk, with over 150 attendees. Other extremely popular programming included the High Holy Days, our Jewnity Shabbat with Chabad and Olami, first night Passover seder, and our letter-writing campaign in response to an egregious display at the University. Our top event types were: Jewish holidays, culture, Shabbat, wellness, and social events.
- A lot of this work also unfolded through personal relationships and creative access points: this year our staff cumulatively created 839 unique personal relationships, reaching students in a combination of one-on-one coffees, small group meetings, and pastoral care.
- Our high-impact experiences–the content that, along with 6+ program attendees, feeds our depth metric–included leadership councils, long-term learning fellowships, Israel trips, a Disneyland Shabbaton, a leadership retreat, and more. We tracked 48 high-impact experiences across the academic year.
- The vast majority of students we served this year were Jewish, and the students fell fairly evenly across graduation years (in other words, we had similar numbers of freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors). The vast majority of students we reached were also undergrads, although we also served 71 graduate students. In addition to students, we tracked interacting with 177 young adults, and 17 community members, not including our own board and families.
This work represents incredible sweat equity and creative thinking on behalf of Hillel’s student leaders, staff, and board. We don’t plan to stop expanding until we reach at least 1,500 students per year, but we simply cannot keep expanding without growing our staff. UArizona Hillel’s engagement work has a direct impact on the Jewish future, reaching students with culture, prayer, learning, wellness, socialization, and Israel content when they are in a profound moment of identity building and becoming. If you or someone you know is interested in helping these incredible Jewish Wildcats shape the future, please reach out to us at email@example.com. We need partners like you to fuel this holy work.