Elon Connected: Elon Hillel helps Lindsay Rosenzweig look at ‘the whole picture’

This is the latest profile in "Elon Connected," a new series that highlights how students are involved with campus organizations at Elon.

How are you Elon Connected? This is the first in a new series that highlights how students are connecting at Elon outside of the classroom.

The university is home to hundreds of organizations that provide nearly limitless ways for students to engage, and Elon Connected shines the light on what these groups mean to the students involved and to the campus community.

Lindsay Rosenzweig ’22 — Elon Hillel

Hometown: Charlotte, N.C.

Major: Human Service Studies

How did you get involved in your organization?

My freshman year at Elon, I was contacted by my engagement intern, a mentor assigned to me by Elon Hillel. She texted me and a group of Jewish first-years about upcoming events each week, many of which were designed for first-year students to meet one another. I was lucky that my roommate and one of my hallmates were also Jewish, so I always had friends to go to events with.

However, I didn’t become very involved in Hillel until the end of my freshman year and beginning of sophomore year when I was chosen to be one of Hillel’s seven interns for the 2019-20 school year. I was able to connect with so many first-year students and help them feel at home at Hillel too! After that, I was chosen to serve as Hillel’s Religious and Education chair, so I played a large role in planning the High Holidays and Passover during the pandemic.

And now, I’m excited to serve as Hillel’s co-President for the next year!

How does your student involvement line up with your academic interests?

As a Human Service Studies major, we learn to look at how multiple factors in an individual’s life contribute to who they are. We learn to view an individual as a whole. The same thing can be applied at Hillel We have to look at the whole picture in planning events and how our experiences shape our involvement in the Jewish community.

… with your social life?

Hillel has helped me connect to some of my closest friends at Elon, even in other organizations and classes, when we recognize each other from Hillel events. I almost always know someone in my classes through a direct or indirect connection at Hillel. I’ve made some of my closest friends through being a Hillel intern and serving on exec. The Jewish Life staff have become my mentors and adults that I can always count on, and support me in all of my personal and academic endeavors.

… with your career goals?

I’m not totally sure what I want to do in the future, but as a Human Service Studies major, I know an important part of my career will involve collaborating with others to achieve a goal, and also interacting with individuals one on one. My various positions at Hillel have allowed me to practice these skills, whether that be grabbing dinner with a first-year to spark an interest in Hillel, or collaborating with other board members and interns to implement an event.

Most memorable experience with your organization?

My most memorable experience with Hillel was when I ran the first event I had ever planned as an intern, “Tie Dye and Thai.” First-year students were invited to tie-dye clothes while enjoying food catered by Simply Thai, and it was a huge success! Even upperclassmen asked if they could stop by to get some of the food. We almost completely ran out of food and materials that day because of how many people attended!

Elevator pitch to someone considering joining?

Elon Hillel is truly a home away from home. You can always walk into the house and be greeted with a friendly face and a snack.

What do you think your organization adds to campus life or the broader community?

Hillel has provided Jewish students on campus with a safe space to be Jewish and brings Jewish students together. For some of us, coming to Elon meant leaving hometowns and neighborhoods where we were a majority and becoming a minority. For others, including myself, who had grown up as minorities in our hometowns, coming to Elon meant being around more Jewish people than we ever had before. Hillel helps all of its members navigate their path with Judaism and supports them in whatever path they may choose.

We are here to educate the Elon community about Judaism and the history of the Jewish people. Anyone is invited to join us in the observance of our holidays, listen to the inspiring stories of Holocaust survivors we invite to campus, or just stop by the house to grab a bagel during our Bagel Brunches.

Biggest adjustment for your group in response to the pandemic?

One of our largest adjustments was navigating how to execute our events that normally encourage high attendance. The High Holidays, which are normally large community gatherings that involve meals, had to be limited in ways that would keep our students and staff safe. We ended up holding a majority of our services online, with the help of multiple student volunteers that stepped up to read, sing, and chant. We managed to create our community over Zoom. The services we had in person were limited in size at the lake, and we provided pre-boxed meals with the help of Elon Dining. We are currently figuring out the logistics of Passover, which is normally another large gathering, and occurs at the end of March this year. I’m hoping we can bring our community back together for this holiday as successfully as we have in previous years!

What’s your advice to other students about balancing student involvement and your academics?

School has to come first. I encourage everyone to become involved in organizations that mean a lot to them, but set boundaries for when you focus on school versus your organizations. Classes are for class and maybe certain hours in the day are for schoolwork. Designate certain times during the day/week to focus on your organizations, or use an upcoming event as motivation to get classwork done sooner. I recommend keeping a calendar and making to-do lists as ways to stay organized!

What lies ahead after Elon?

The future is still an unknown for me! I am hoping to either pursue a master’s degree in social work or find a position at a human service agency or nonprofit.

Something most people don’t know about you?

I was actually born in New York! I moved to Charlotte when I was 5 and grew up there, so I just tell people that’s where I’m from.