Written by Ethan Avinoam, Student President at Guelph Hillel 2017/2018
How fast time flies! I remember my first year of university like it was just yesterday. It was a whirlwind, but the perfect blend of fast-paced academic action, and incredible social experiences that made you want to pause time entirely. One of the most important aspects of my transition from high school to university was seeking out and settling in a new Jewish community and maintaining my own routine and Jewish lifestyle. This was my gateway to finding a home at Hillel, the defining element of my undergraduate career and one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve ever had the privilege to be a part of. From the moment I walked into my first event, I could immediately feel the warmth and comfort of others who were just like me, and so eager to connect and collaborate with each other.
By my sophomore year, I had joined the executive team with a new brand, director, and no shortage of uncertainty. From the first team meeting onwards it felt like family, and the incredible things we were able to achieve on campus and within our own community made me proud to be an active Jewish student. I remember thinking to myself after my second year, can this really get any better? I was enjoying my academics, in love with my campus and everything it had to offer (don’t even get me started on the food at UoG!), and had met dozens of amazing new friends through Hillel and AEPi that all had common interests but also unique differences. My personal challenge was finding ways to become more involved and as third and fourth year approached, my motivation to enhance Jewish student life at Guelph increased by the day.
After an incredible third year full of new friends & everlasting memories, I decided to make the jump and take on a leadership role as President for my final year. Looking back, it was one of the best decisions I could have made and working on such an amazing team for the year was fulfilling and humbling. It was a year of firsts, a new approach to our executive team philosophy and a new outlook on how to continue improving and innovating Jewish student life at Guelph. However, none of it would have been possible to conceive without the brilliance of our Director Gila Cotler. Gila has been so much more than just a Director, she has been the catalyst behind the student-led revitalization of Jewish life at the University of Guelph. Gila’s unbelievable work ethic, compassion, perseverance and philosophy have influenced our entire community and set the foundation for years of growth and positive change to come.
It has been such a privilege to work and collaborate with Gila, our amazing Vice President and incoming Co-President Riley Noik who is one of the most creative and intelligent individuals I have ever met, as well as the rest of our team who have made this past year the most memorable and who have inspired me to enjoy every day to the fullest and take risks so that we can all learn and discover more about ourselves and others. A ‘Thank You’ doesn’t come close to describing the extreme gratitude that I have for being able to experience my four years of University in paradise, a nurturing environment with incredible professors, community leaders, but most of all students. It has been an honour, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds.
Signing off for one last time,