Elon Hillel receives Hazon Seal of Sustainability for environmental work

The Hazon Seal of Sustainability certifies a Jewish organization’s commitment to safeguarding the environment. Elon Hillel was the only organization in N.C. to receive the honor.

Elon Hillel has been recognized with the Hazon Seal of Sustainability, which certifies a Jewish organization’s commitment to sustainable values and practices with regard to its food and environmental practices, treatment of animals and impact on climate change.

“Tikkun Olam, which means to repair the world, is a Jewish value that I live by every day,” said Hannah Greenfader ’19, “Helping bring the Hazon Seal of Sustainability to Elon Hillel means that I have left a small lasting impact on the Hillel community which was so important to me at my time at Elon.”

Elon Hillel is the sole North Carolina entity to have received the Hazon Seal. Participation signifies that Elon Hillel, along with a network of over 50 Jewish organizations across the nation, is emerging as a leader in the realm of Jewish sustainability.

Hannah Greenfader ’19 is among those who have expanded environmental initiatives at Elon Hillel.

Greenfader partnered with fellow student Sydney Solomon ’19 and Associate Chaplain for Jewish Life Rabbi Sandra Lawson to apply for the Hazon recognition.

Jewish tradition teaches us to care for our planet so that we can preserve that which God has created,” Lawson said. “Thanks to the leadership of Sydney Solomon and Hannah Greenfader, the Sklut Hillel Center at Elon University received the Hazon Seal of Sustainability. We are very proud to be the only Jewish organization in North Carolina to receive this recognition.”

Elon’s Jewish Life team and student leaders made great strides actualize environmentally sustainable practices and policies on and around campus during the 2018-19 academic year.

Among those initiatives include ensuring that all disposable flatware and tableware used by Hillel is compostable, making a full range of permanent reusable cooking and dining implements available in the Sklut Hillel Center’s vegetarian kitchen, providing more vegetarian and vegan food options at Hillel events, and partnering with the Community Garden to feed students fresh locally-grown produce.

More greening is in store for Elon Hillel and partnering with Hazon will provide the organization with a roadmap to greater sustainability.

“This way, our Hillel is making a promise to be better for the planet, I miss Elon Hillel every day, but it makes me so happy to know the people there are staying true to the values of compassion and selflessness by doing what is right for the health of the Earth,” said Solomon, who is now in graduate school at Columbia University. “I look forward to seeing the sustainable programs and policies that will be created from Elon Hillel’s partnership with Hazon.”

Engagement Associate for Jewish Life Jennifer Hill provided some insight into Hillel’s sustainability plans for the 2019-20 school year. “As part of our sustainability efforts, which align with Hazon’s goals, we are focusing on student-centered activities and education,” Hill said. “Among our initiatives include requiring RSVPs for events to prevent food waste, partnering with Sustainable Waste Reduction interns for larger events and with Loy Farm to source local ingredients, incorporating education into cooking programs such as a vegan Challah bake with Challah for Hunger, and tying our religious traditions into our work as stewards for the environment.”

The Jewish Life team is clearly looking to the future. “The Hazon Seal provides guidance and support to help us continue our efforts of sustainability, and gives us a roadmap through education and advocacy so that over time, Jewish life at Elon will become healthier and more sustainable,” Lawson said.

Greenfader, who is currently interning with the Miami- Dade County Office of Resilience researching sea-level rise strategies and creating content for educational programs about sustainability and resilience in Miami, is so proud that Hillel has received this recognition.

“Hillel was a big part of my life at Elon, where I was able to connect with fellow Jewish students, eat delicious bagels, and grab a coffee with the wonderful staff,” she said. “My experience at Elon Hillel will always be with me and I am so honored to have left a small lasting impact, the Hazon Seal, the perfect step to continuing the path of Tikkun Olam. I am so grateful that Sydney and I were able to be a part of this.”