Student leadership program kicks off with summit in New York
20 student leaders from ten different campuses across the United States came together for the Chabad on Campus Leadership Summit of workshops, Farbrengens, and leadership training and exercises that highlighted Chabad values. Whole story
That’s the goal of every Shliach: to reach as many Jews as possible. The simple reality is that the Shluchim are human and limited. No matter how hard he or she works, it is simply impossible to reach all the Jews in their locality. It was for this reason that the Rebbe constantly taught a doctrine that “a Chassid is a lamplighter” – to transform members of the community into full-fledged lamplighters, further expanding the circle of influence as a ripple that reaches endless corners of the sea.
For Shluchim and Shluchos on college campuses, this is particularly poignant, as they operate in close social environments of many like-minded, age-matched people. In fact, most Shluchim on campus already hire a council of student leaders to help with this endeavor. Chabad on Campus International saw an opportunity to bring these student leaders together by creating a global leadership community to provide additional support, inspiration, and networking to these students, just like Shluchim themselves.
With so many campus variables ranging from size, region, length and number of Shluchim serving that campus, educational style, social environment, etc., it took extensive research and analysis of the data to determine a reasonable plan.
Thus, “UPWARD” was born, a program that began last week at a leadership summit held in New York. Over the course of two days, twenty student leaders handpicked by their Shluchim from ten different campuses across the country gathered for an intense summit of workshops, Farbrengens, and training and leadership exercises that highlighted highlighted Chabad values and explored methods to engage the maximum number of students possible.
The program will continue with virtual meetings throughout the year, where these student leaders will receive additional training and brainstorm ideas together. They will also receive grants along the way from Chabad on Campus International for co-designed engagement initiatives.
“The summit itself was a whirlwind of inspiration, fellowship and teaching,” says rabbi Shlomie Chein, vice president of student engagement at Chabad on Campus International and Shliach at the University of S. Cruz. The fact that each student leader meets and connects with others doing the same across the country has reinforced the idea that we are all in this together, so much bigger and more powerful than any one individual. A deeply personal Farrengen with the rabbi Dov Yona Korn de Chabad du Bowery, which also hosted the summit, was the icing on the already sweet cake.
Throughout the summit, students heard from Chabad on Campus leaders, including Rabbi Avi WeinsteinCOO of Chabad on Campus International, Rabbi Shlomie Chein, Vice President of Student Engagement, Thom Waye, Chief Strategy Officer, Motivational Speaker, Kivi Bernhardas well as members of the Chabad on Campus International advisory board, Dr. Gary and Mrs. Pam Ostrow. Hearing from these successful secular leaders how they integrated Chabad values into the mainstream was especially meaningful.
As Mark from the University of Pittsburgh said, “The Upward experience made me feel like I got some real light on my mission. I felt like every moment gave me inspiration to continue this message. All I want to do back on campus is give others the inspiration I felt and spread Judaism among all the Jews I can find!
“The next frontier of the Shlichus campus is to connect every Jewish student, without exception, once and for all,” the rabbi said. Yossy Gordon, CEO of Chabad on Campus International. “With an effective student leadership cohort in place, with the help of Almighty God, we will be well on our way to getting there.”