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News You Should Know

This summer, Commentator staff scoured campus asking for YU news you might have missed. Here’s what we found:


Back on track, some minor tweaks were made to DegreeTrack, based on feedback, which will hopefully address many of the issues that students were experiencing. The online course catalogue/degree progress tracker will be re-launched after Sukkot in a new, more reliable form. Academic Advising recently started to use the system to add in various notes, exemptions and waivers,which will make documents more accessible to the student body. Continuous student feedback is critical to the continued development of this program.


Summer fun? Not at Admissions! A few hectic weeks were devoted to finalizing the accommodations for potential incoming students, which is not an easy task, when every bed in the residence halls at the Midtown Beren campus will be filled. Numbers at the Uptown Wilf campus are strong, just like last year, and Admissions is coordinating with the Office of Student Finance to make sure that students with financial needs are accommodated.

Recruitment season is in full swing with events such as Open Houses, (Beren: November 10th & Wilf: November 17th) on-campus activities, and community visits.

One of the new events includes a college guidance counselor for high schools around the country on Sunday afternoon November 17th-18th  after the Wilf Campus Open House. Stay on the lookout for yearly offerings like YU Model UN, Sarachek basketball tournament, the Wittenberg wrestling tournament, and the new high school advocacy mission to Washington, which began last year. A high school science competition on the Beren campus will launch, as will a high school “Talmud Bekiut” competition run by Rabbi Ezra Schwartz.

Climate Action Plan/Carbon Emission Management

Since 2008, the University has seen a 7% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions across all 4 campuses, which continues to decrease towards the target 20% reduction by 2020. Energy efficiency projects have played a major role in this improvement. At the Manhattan campuses, these projects have included lighting retrofit projects, pipe insulation, and water efficiency measures such as low flow faucets/shower heads, and the pilot testing of a waterless urinal.  Special removable steam valve insulating jackets were installed this summer at the Beren, Wilf and Cardozo campuses.


The University has also embarked on the Sustainability, Tracking, Assessment, and Rating System (STARS). This program, which has replaced the Sustainability Endowment “Green Report Card”, strives to assess Yeshiva’s progress toward greater sustainability in three overarching categories: Education and Research, Operations and Planning, and Administration and Engagement. The University is currently working on its submission and hopes to complete it by the end of the calendar year.

Eco Rep Program:

Additionally, Yeshiva University has seen the Eco Rep Sustainability Leadership program continue to advance each year. Educating undergraduate students interested in sustainability at the University, the program allows students to put together their own individual projects to benefit the University community. Interested students should apply by October 4th at the Sustainability portal on the YU website.

Energy Price Protection Program

The University manages volatile energy supply costs/risks, and has saved millions by employing smart procurement strategies on all campuses.  The buying committee includes Procurement and Finance Departments for all Campuses and the Office of Energy and Sustainability.

Counseling Center

Last year, the Counseling Center provided individual counseling, psychiatry and referral services to over 20 percent of the student body, both on the Wilf and Beren campuses, and looks forward to providing high quality confidential mental health services to students in need during the coming year.

During the summer, a new full time position for a post-doctoral student was created, and a part-time psychologist/outreach coordinator were both added to the dedicated staff of therapists and psychiatrists.  The Counseling Center would like to encourage all students, new and returning, to take care of themselves, get enough rest, eat well, and to turn to the Counseling centers for any emotional situation, big or small.


The Chemistry major’s curriculum experienced an overhaul; the first semester of General Chemistry had it’s lab removed, and the second semester lab has been augmented with online recitation material. Fear not, that semester of lab work now appears later in one’s chemically inclined academic career at Yeshiva University in the form of a new course in advanced lab techniques!

Jewish Studies

The Jewish Studies department increased the flexibility of the academic Jewish studies requirements at Yeshiva College by allowing a Bible requirement to be replaced with a Jewish Philosophy requirement. Furthermore, four Professors in this department received tenure: Professors Dauber, Karlip, Koller, and Olson.

Political Science

From the Political Science department comes a new full time faculty member: Dr. Jamie Aroosi, who received his Ph.D. from CUNY, writing his dissertation on Marx, Kirkegaard and Religion under Professor Marshall Berman. He will be teaching courses in American Politics.


The Sociology department continues to grow, offering many exciting courses in the core curriculum, such as “Race, Ethnicity & Religion” by Professor van Ryn. Options and classes within the the major and minor continue to expand. The new MCAT includes questions from the field of Sociology, therefore, more pre-med students are enrolling in Sociology classes and some are even minoring in Sociology. Both “Introduction to Sociology” and “Education and Society” will address MCAT questions, continuing the trend towards fruitful interdisciplinary study at Yeshiva College. Law schools also appreciate the skills students learn in Sociology, and pre-law students should consider the major. Daniel Kimmel, from the University of Chicago, will offer exciting courses in the new core curriculum, and will also teach electives such as Medical Sociology. Sociology Majors are forming a Sociology club which will hopefully offer exciting insights to the entire campus.

YU Fit

Sitting in a Beit Midrash fills your life with the light of Torah, and sitting in front of a screen watching Netflix catches you up on popular culture, but both need to be combined with regular exercise in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Students at Yeshiva University, like so many across the country, lead an ominously sedentary lifestyle. A new campus-wide initiative called YU Fit empowers students to take ownership of their health by making healthy choices with regards to healthy eating and physical activity. This health promotion initiative ennobles, enables, and encourages healthy lifestyle decisions.

Small changes have a lasting impact and lead to further lifestyle improvements. Bruce Jacobs, Director of Dining Services has been a strong supporter of YU Fit and has been instrumental in making the following changes in our cafeteria: fried options have been reduced or replaced with baked or broiled options, soda fountains and ICEE dispensers were replaced with healthy soft serve frozen yogurt, and there will be a YU Fit branded area with healthful options and salads.

YU Fit will work closely with the RIETS administration and the academic Deans from both Yeshiva College and Sy Syms, to find ways of incorporating the importance of leading a healthy lifestyle into shiurim and the curriculum. The flat screen televisions, which usually display information about goings-on in and around campus, will also display health facts about proper nutrition, exercise, and sleep.

A personal trainer, free for students, is being hired by Joe Bednarsh, Athletics Director, and “Bootcamp!”-style events run by an American Council of Exercise certified trainer are foreseen as long-term, long-impact initiatives.

Sy Syms School of Business

The Sy Syms School of Business is happy to report that this semester brings one of its largest incoming classes ever to the Wilf Campus. Several new faculty also join the freshman class, including Dr. Archishman Chakraborty,  Mel Harris, Professor of Risk Management and Insurance (granted tenure by the Board in June), Dr. Stephen Chan, Assistant Professor of Marketing, Dr. Gabriella Coiculescu, Assistant Professor of Finance, Dr. Henry Huang, Assistant Professor of Accounting, and Dr. Galit Ben-Josef, Clinical Professor of Management.

In addition to the new faculty, several new courses are being offered in Syms, including Business Communications and Managing a Growing Business (in which students will do real world consulting on the Seforim sale).

Syms continues to experiment with online and blended courses; Dr. Fred Palumbo is offering a blended course in International Business this fall, and Dr. Tamar Avnet is helping to design an introductory online marketing class for Jewish Day Schools.

The second Executive MBA cohort begins this fall, along with the new MS in Accounting class.