Outreach on Campus: Lessons from Israel Uncovered Recruitment
Erika Wohl is The David Project's Campus Coordinator in the New Jersey and New York area, as well as in Tennessee and Georgia. She attended Skidmore College where she graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics and International Affairs. Whenever I talk to people who haven’t previously heard of The David Project, I explain that while it’s wonderful to talk about Israel with other pro-Israel advocates or people who already love the country, it’s truly a gift to be able to share Israel with those who haven’t been exposed to it before.
We all, within the Israel and Jewish community, know of the amazing things Israel has to offer. We know about Israel as the start-up nation; we know about the rich and vast diversity within Israeli life--religiously, nationally, culturally; we know about Israel’s liberal democracy and the IDF as a highly humanitarian army.
But outside of our pro-Israel bubble, these virtues are not as well known, and thus we have an opportunity to share our beloved Israel with others outside of our community. Here at The David Project, we fundamentally believe whoever you are, regardless of your background, interests, and involvements on campus, you can have a connection to Israel. The David Project is about to give 76 campus leaders from campuses across the country their opportunity to find their connection to Israel on our unique Israel Uncovered: Campus Leader’s Mission to Israel trip. The trip this winter break is going to be an incredibly meaningful and enriching experience, both for the campus leaders who are going to be experiencing Israel for the first time, and for myself as I will get to help facilitate these students gaining an appreciation for a country I love.
We are 3 months out from the trip, and part of the recruitment process is interviewing campus leaders for spots on Israel Uncovered. As a newbie in this role of Campus Coordinator, I didn’t know what to expect. Would my engagement teams be able to pull off trip recruitment in a few short weeks? Would students be hesitant to go to Israel, after the events of this past summer? Would people think The David Project was a super sketchy organization, considering my students were inviting their peers to Israel on coffee dates? Luckily, none of my fears came true! Recruitment went way better than I could have possibly imagined. During my interviews, I spoke with students from a huge variety of organizations on campus--everything from student government to Latino cultural organizations to business clubs to community service organizations. Every single individual, from all these different facets of campus life, thought of a way to partner with other groups and bring Israel back to their communities. My biggest take-away has been that there’s not only incredible interest on campus for learning about Israel, there’s also endless opportunities within a wider scope of involvements on campus for partnership and dialogue about Israel.
So, dear students…campus is your oyster! With some interest and creativity, you can reach and span all the way across campus, to so many varied communities, and truly bring students together to talk Israel.