Hello! Our names are Hannah Finkelstein and Jess Pink and we are the VPs of Engagement for Guelph Hillel. Throughout the school year, we get to meet tons of new friends and welcome them to our Hillel family. For any event that we have, our number one goal is to make sure every student feels comfortable walking into the room. We reach out to students, have coffee, and introduce people to one another. We often make a meeting time on campus so students can walk together as a group to the event. Our main priority at the beginning of the year is to engage first year students and integrate them into Hillel and general Guelph life.
First year students have the chance to sign up for the Big Fish Little FYSH (First Year Student at Hillel) Peer Mentorship Program. This allows first years to meet older students that are part of our Hillel community and from their academic program. Big Fish help guide their buddy through course selection, killer Chem, and those tough assignments. Throughout the year, and even after, the Little Fysh and Big Fish meet and keep in touch. All the Big Fish and Little Fysh get competitive on who is the best pair!
This year, we kicked off our semester with some funny ice breakers. Teams had to blindly eat pretzels off of string and shave balloons covered in shaving cream. It was really funny and everyone got to know each other in a comfortable environment. Bonds were created that continue to flourish throughout the year.
After the Big Fish Little Fysh event, we had our Welcome Back Mixer. By having our first year event prior to the big party, we were able to encourage more first year students to come, making it feel less intimidating walking into the room. Now these new students feel at home as they have met so many friendly faces. It was so amazing to see first years interacting with upper year students, which is typical of our community.
Throughout the night, so many introductions and friendships were formed – people finding connections every which way. We are so excited for all the upcoming events this year and we hope to meet even more friendly faces!
Jessica & Hannah