UR prides itself on the many clubs, religious groups and organized activities that it provides and supports. Although the university is comprised of several campuses and schools, including Eastman, it seems that the river campus is home to the majority of these groups and activities.When students first arrive at Eastman, they are told not to single out the river campus as UR because Eastman is a part of the university as well. However, after three years of running back and forth between campuses, many double degree students, and students who elect to take classes on the river campus, have realized that these two campuses are essentially two separate schools and entities. A handful of double degree students are fortunate enough to live at the river campus, which has given these students the opportunity to have a stereotypical college experience – fraternity parties, a cappella concerts, the first signs of spring on the academic quad, concerts in the Palestra, Meliora Weekends and attending various Hillel events. Hillel is the center for Jewish life at UR. It has and continues to play an important role in the lives of Jewish students at the university. For some students, Friday night Shabbat services have become a staple, and many look forward to seeing friends they don’t normally see the rest of the week. These services in the Interfaith Chapel, however, have always lacked the attendance of Eastman students. “There are students that do go to Friday night services, but they go to area temples instead of the ones at UR. The advantage of Hillel services for [river campus] students is that there is no travel. For Eastman students, we have to travel either way, so it is logical to go to a synagogue closer to Eastman,” sophomore Dan Guberman said.Junior Laura Puzio was one of the first students to have an active Jewish role over at Eastman.”When I first came to Eastman as a freshman and saw that there was no form of organized Jewish life, I started going to U of R all of the time for Hillel programs, including Shabbat services.”She continued, “After a while I wanted to bring the strong sense of community they have at their Hillel over to Eastman. However, I never attained the sense of unity between the two communities… It is hard to get people involved when activities are not in close proximity to the campus, and there are other activities that are more accessible.”With the beginning of the new year, a new executive director of Hillel, and a new student board in place, more Jewish students at Eastman are beginning to step up into leadership roles. A committee of Jewish students has been formed in order to help further expand the Hillel community at Eastman. “I think it is vital that we have a wider variety of activities for the Jewish students at Eastman,” Guberman, a committee member, said.Planning Eastman Hillel events for this semester has already begun. Some of the tentative events are a Purim party and a Passover Seder, as well as bowling, laser tag and other social events. A committee has been formed in order to discuss possible activities. “Though I haven’t participated in many Eastman Hillel events in the past, I’m excited that Hillel is taking a more active role at Eastman, and I’m excited at the possibility of being able to participate more in the future,” sophomore Liza Malamut said.McClain can be reached at email@example.com.
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