Hey There College Freshman,
Congratulations on entering college! We’re guessing that you’re pretty excited right about now, and maybe even a little nervous. You’re entering a whole new world – one that offers you the opportunity to not only have fun and grow into the person you want to be, but also to meet new friends and make a positive impact on the people around you. Our team here at StandWithUs is excited for you, and we wanted you to know that we’re here to empower you in many different ways. From educational resources about Israel and connections with the pro-Israel community to grants and internship opportunities, we’ve got your back every step of the way.
At this point you may be wondering who we are, so here’s your answer in a nutshell: StandWithUs is an Israel education organization. We are inspired by our love for Israel and our belief that education is the road to peace. We also feel a deep sense of responsibility to stand up for Israel and Israelis when they are publicly attacked or misrepresented. That’s why we’re here to support students like you with educational materials and programs that tell Israel’s inspiring story as well as with opportunities to get more deeply involved in activism and leadership on campus. We also know that you may be forced to deal with anti-Israel, anti-Semitic boycotts (“BDS”) and other extremist actions that harm both your campus community and efforts to achieve peace and understanding. We will be here to empower you and other students on your campus to overcome these types of challenges. One of the booklets that we recommend you review is “Countering Anti-Israel Boycotts on Campus,” and we have included a link to that important StandWithUs publication on the second page of this letter.
With all of that in mind, we’ve included some ideas below to help get you started on your new adventure:
- Our regional campus coordinators are dedicated to supporting you in everything related to Israel education and activism. The coordinator in your region can provide you with all of our educational resources, Israel swag (standwithus.com/ecommcreek), grants for programs, and help with getting active and connected on campus. You can find and contact your coordinator at standwithus.com/campus (click on “About,” then “Meet the Staff”).
- Follow our pages on Facebook (facebook.com/standwithus), Twitter (twitter.com/standwithus), and Instagram (instagram.com/standwithus) to get updates about Israel and engaging content to share with your friends. We have over 1 million followers on Facebook and look forward to you joining us!
- Get involved with the Jewish community, pro-Israel activism, and student leadership! Hillel, Chabad, pro-Israel groups, and Greek life are a great place to start, and our national partner organizations in the Israel on Campus Coalition also have great resources to offer to students.
- Look up Birthright (birthrightisrael.com) and plan your FREE TRIP TO ISRAEL! Trust us, you won’t regret it. You can also ask the Hillel on your campus about its Birthright trip to Israel and its BICEP program.
- If you’re interested in getting involved in pro-Israel activism this year, our annual StandWithUs Israel In Focus conference each November features engaging training sessions, inspiring speakers, and the opportunity to network with pro-Israel students from across the U.S. and Canada. Learn more at standwithus.com/campus (click on “Israel In Focus Conference”).
- Once you settle in and get used to your surroundings and new-found freedom, you may want to start developing your leadership skills. Our StandWithUs Emerson Fellowship program exists to empower students like you to lead the pro-Israel movement at your university, and you will be eligible to apply beginning this spring. If you are interested, we highly recommend staying in touch with your coordinator throughout the year.
- Learn about Israel on your own! Explore our educational booklets, and contact your campus coordinator if you’d like any of them sent to you.
We hope you have a great start to your freshman year and look forward to connecting with you soon. Like we said before, we’re here to support you every step of the way, so don’t hesitate to reach out to us through your campus coordinator or at [email protected].
Lastly, before we say goodbye we’d like to offer you a gift – email us at [email protected] with your name and address, and we’ll send you a pair of “I Heart Israel” sunglasses, a bottle opener, stickers, and other swag so you can show your love and support for Israel on campus.
NOTE TO PARENTS, TEACHERS, AND HIGH SCHOOL ADMINISTRATORS: We would be happy to send you a quantity of free gifts to go along with this welcome letter. Please write to [email protected] and let us know how many students you would like to offer these gifts to. For requests over 10, there will be a small charge per student to help us sustain this program.