After weeks of planning and a month of training at the beginning of the summer, preparations are well underway for the start of the new year on campus and it’s safe to say, the Union of Jewish Students (UJS) team are raring to go and have big plans for the year ahead. UJS represents over 8000 students throughout the UK and Ireland, with a network of 64 Jewish Societies (J-Socs). These range from Exeter to Edinburgh, London to Liverpool and many more along the way.
Our work comprises of: powerful campaigns defending Jewish students’ interests; diverse and dynamic programmes for enriching Jewish life on campus; inspiring national events; access to kosher accommodation and food, safe vibrant spaces for J-Soc activities; and career networking opportunities. Jewish life on campus is thriving and we can’t wait to see what this academic year brings.
As a campaigning organisation, we have a long history of campaigning on key issues such as anti-Semitism, hate speech and delegitimisation of Israel. We strive to ensure that no Jewish student feels threatened on their campus for being Jewish or being a supporter of Israel, and every student feels comfortable to express their level of Judaism on campus. To highlight a specific campaign; Jewish Experience Week (J.E.W) is the largest campaign by UJS and Jewish students in recent years and highlights the diverse nature of Jews and Jewish culture, whilst facilitating positive relationships between Jewish students and their non-Jewish peers.
Naturally, trying to ensure Jewish students have a Jewish experience whilst at University is also a large part of our work. We provide resources, support, training and funding for J-Socs in all of their activities. We have already started the year off with our two day Time to Lead Seminar which was aimed at J-Soc Presidents and Activists to prepare them for going back to campus. In November, we will hold our annual training summit where around 100 J-Soc leaders will spend a weekend developing their skills and preparing for their time on J-Soc committee and throughout the year, we are on hand to support, train and advise wherever we can.
Alongside this, we also partner with various organisations to offer trips to Israel and Poland (to name a few), provide access to kosher food and accommodation, and ensure there are safe spaces for J-Soc activities to be held in. Not forgetting, we provide career networking opportunities and also host a range of national events and inter-J-Soc events such as JUEFA Cup and Jewniversity Challenge.
UJS provides the platform and opportunities to empower, educate and inspire Jewish students. We place students at the heart of leading and creating campus communities, whilst at the same time inspiring these leaders for today and the future. Just from some of the highlights above, it is clear that Jewish life on campus is exciting and varied. This being said, we can’t avoid the challenges in the Jewish student world but we hope to not let these challenges be the focus of the year when there is so much more to Jewish life on campus.
We can’t wait to get going this year and are always amazed at what Jewish students are creating on campus. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us (firstname.lastname@example.org) and feel free to follow us on Twitter: @UJS_UK, like our Facebook page: Union of Jewish Students and visit our website: www.ujs.org.uk