KV, an incoming fourth-year student at Queens College who is gaining a teaching certificate in social studies, experienced his first year online because of Covid. After months of isolation, he wasn’t sure how to begin to make friends when he returned to campus.
Queens College Hillel, a UJA partner, was there with open arms.
After coming to campus, KV said, “I started just coming here [Hillel]. And that's how I made all my friends. So it just keeps me from being lonely.” One of KV’s favorite memories is “making mishloach manot with my friends. And everyone was like, in a silly, goofy mood…it was just so much fun.”
UJA has long supported 11 Hillels through 17 colleges and universities across New York State, helping students find their Jewish identity and a place they can call their home away from home. And now with UJA’s help, Hillels are adding a new dimension to their work: offering employment counseling, mental health services, and digital food pantries.
All of this is in response to a UJA study that showed more than 40% of Jewish CUNY students experience food insecurity and almost 30% experience depression. The pandemic exacerbated an already difficult situation.
At Queens College, Hillel provides a community for students, offering counseling and broadening their horizons.