Hey there! We're Abe and Emma, the current and immediate past president of the AJC Campus Global Board, and as passionate Jewish college students, we wanted to share some tips to help you navigate campus life as Jewish students. Embracing your Jewish identity while thriving on campus is an incredible journey, and we want you to know that American Jewish Committee (AJC) is here to support you every step of the way.
Tip #1 - Celebrate Your Jewish Identity:
Be proud of your Jewish heritage and culture. Share your traditions, stories, and values with others. Celebrate Jewish holidays, attend Jewish events, and engage in discussions that allow you to showcase the richness and multifaceted nature of your identity and background. Your uniqueness, and the Jewish experience, adds to the vibrant tapestry of campus life.
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Tip #2 - Embrace Your Community:
Remember, you're not alone. You have a community of peers who stand with you, both on and off campus. Reach out to Jewish student organizations and create meaningful connections with like minded peers. Supporting one another fosters a sense of belonging that can make all the difference, both in the best of moments but also in challenging moments for the Jewish community.
Tip #3 - Speak Your Truth:
You're not the sole spokesperson for the Jewish people. Your experiences and opinions are valid even if you don’t represent every perspective or take on every topic. Embrace your individuality and engage in conversations from your own, knowledgeable standpoint.
Tip #4 - Know Your Rights:
Understanding your rights is essential. Familiarize yourself with Title VI regulations, the newly launched U.S. National Strategy to Counter Antisemitism from the White House, and any campus-specific action plans. If you encounter antisemitism, don't hesitate or be nervous to report it or ask for help. Stand up against discrimination, and let your voice be a powerful force for change. And remember, you never stand alone.
Tip #5 - Allyship Matters:
Building bridges with non-Jewish allies is crucial. Reach out to individuals and groups who advocate for diversity and inclusivity. Allies amplify your voice and contribute to a safer, more accepting campus environment.
Tip #6 - Stay Informed:
The campus landscape is constantly changing and it’s important that you aren’t caught flat-footed. As college students ourselves, we understand that your free time is limited, but continuously educating yourself on the issues of the day is vitally important and should be prioritized. We recommend the AJC Campus Library and following AJC on Instagram (@ajc.global) as a great resource among many for you to stay up to date!
Your journey as a Jewish student is one of the most formative experiences of your life, and your presence enriches campus life. As you navigate this chapter, remember that embracing your identity, seeking support, and standing up against discrimination are all acts of empowerment. This is your journey, and AJC is here for you, including through our Campus Global Board, and together, we can make our campus communities even more vibrant and welcoming. L’chaim to what we know will be a meaningful, educational, and fun college experience!
Abe Baker-Butler (2023-24 AJC Campus Global Board President, Yale University ‘25)
Emma Daitz (2022-23 AJC Campus Global Board President, Amherst College ‘23)
For more information, please contact AJC’s Assistant Director of ACCESS Global, Brian Hertz, at: email@example.com.