New Buildings & New Programs: How Hillel Is Welcoming Students Back To School

Hear that?

That’s the sound of parents silently cheering that their kids are out of the house and back on campus, where they have to do their own laundry for the next several months.

Most colleges have started back up in the last few weeks or are getting ready to welcome their students back to school, and Hillels are already getting started with programming for students.

For some Hillels, welcoming students back means also giving them a new home.

At Rutgers University, for instance, a big change for students at the New Brunswick, N.J., campus comes in the form of having their very own Hillel facility for the first time with the Eva and Arie Halpern Hillel House on the Wilf Family Campus.

“Originally from about 1996 until 2014, we were housed in an old house that we did not own,” said Andrew Getraer, executive director of Rutgers Hillel. “We rented. That was insufficient in terms of space and didn’t fulfill our needs for our students.”

In 2014, the New Brunswick Development Corp. and the university began a project “to redevelop the entire College Avenue campus, and we had an opportunity to become a part of that,” Getraer said.

Whereas before they held programs “here, there and everywhere,” starting later in the fall when the two-story, 40,000-square-foot building officially opens, students will have a place to call home, right in a bustling part of town.

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