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Campus Impact Network Gives Students Tools to Combat Anti-Israel Sentiments

As part of our Federation’s comprehensive, high-priority efforts to strengthen Jewish campus life and support students, this past weekend marked the official launch of The Jewish Federation’s Campus Impact Network (CIN), which is made possible by a Cutting Edge Grant from the Jewish Community Foundation.  This initiative will give Jewish student leaders the tools required to be more effective campus leaders and activists, by building bridges between social justice work and the Jewish community. 

Seventeen student leaders from UCLA, USC, Loyola Marymount University, Cal Poly Pomona, Cal Poly San Louis Obispo and Cal State Long Beach gathered at Hilltop Camp in Malibu for a weekend of intensive leadership training.  Facilitator Chris Ahearn of Reinvent Communication walked students through the steps required to shape “SMART goals” and see them through to fruition by networking and practicing effective communication.  On Friday, students spoke about the role of student government in effecting change on their campuses with Avi Oved, current UCLA student and the Student-Regent Designate to the University of California Board of Regents, and Federation staffer Aliza Goldsmith, who is also former Student Body President at Occidental College.  On Saturday, D’Artagnan Scorza, Ph.D (UCLA), the founder and Executive Director of the Social Justice Learning Institute, spoke with our students about the context of the different campus groups’ support of the anti-Israel movement and the importance of understanding their affinity when forming coalitions.  By the end of the retreat, students left with a clear roadmap of how to reach their goals for the year, and a new network on which to lean for support along the way.

The Jewish Federation will be hosting a second workshop with additional student leaders from other campuses such as CSUN and Occidental College, among others.  The students who attended this weekend’s retreat will continue working on their goals and have the opportunity to apply for micro grants to make these ideas a reality.  Additionally, we will be matching these students with mentors in the community who will help them hone their leadership skills on-campus and beyond. 

While the CIN training takes a general civic leadership approach, this program is The Jewish Federation’s newest way to help combat the growing anti-Israel movements and activities on local campuses.  We know the Boycott, Divestments and Sanctions (BDS) movement is a very sophisticated and complex issue and we believe that can be changed, in large part, if Jewish students are able to become strong leaders engaged with a variety of groups to help transform their campus environments.

For more information on the Campus Impact Network, please contact Dan Gold at (323) 761-8138 or DGold@JewishLA.org.

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