Being the President of Rutgers Hillel
By Raffi Mark ’13
As we begin the elections process for the 2013-2014 Hillel board, I find myself looking back on my time as president and reviewing the challenges I faced and the successes that we’ve had as an organization. At the beginning of this year I expected to be spending my time working with my board members to ensure effective communication to lead to effective programming. I wanted to see Rutgers Hillel improving all aspects of our programming and messaging.
During the course of this year I found myself balancing overseeing my board with working on new programs and initiatives. I was in the unique position this year to be part of the creation of a Student Interfaith Committee. Working together with the President of Trinity House, the Protestant Ministries at Rutgers, we reached out to student leaders from different religious communities on campus. Though still young, we have for the first time brought together student leaders of different faiths to represent their religious groups in a single body, not to debate, or even to discuss the differences between our religions, but to meet as leaders and find common ground.
Another chance I was very lucky to have as president, was to work with students who were trying to find their own involvement at Hillel. By the mere happenstance of being in the “right place at the right time” in the Hillel building I became involved with Sharsheret, Jewish breast cancer awareness, on campus at Rutgers. Working with Danielle Schlisser and Nava Frankel, the Rutgers students spearheading the Sharsheret awareness campaign here, we executed a large scale “Pink Day” social media campaign. Pink Day is a national Sharsheret initiative that encourages campuses and communities to wear pink and pledge to have “the Talk” about family history of Breast Cancer. At Rutgers we created a facebook event with 232 students attending and collected 65 photos of students in pink around our University. Sharsheret, which had been only small scale, became a visible organization in Hillel.
I have been given amazing opportunities as President, and I attribute it to the great work of the other students here at Rutgers. So many great ideas, plans, programs, initiatives, and organizations are constantly being discussed and executed at Rutgers Hillel and I have had the unique opportunity to see so many come to fruition. I know, as I prepare to graduate, that there will always be success and always be amazing programs coming out of Rutgers Hillel. I look forward to seeing what comes out next.