By: David Rubenstein  | 

Wilf Campus Welcomes Variety of New Student Groups

This semester, the Yeshiva University General Assembly introduced seventeen new clubs to the extensive list of student groups on campus.

Business-related clubs abounded among the newcomers, including the Consulting Club, East Asia Business Club, and the Non-Profit Club. The Ice Hockey Club, Maccabees Melee, Ping Pong Club, and Table Soccer Association debuted among the sports and recreational activities.  New health and medicine groups included the YU Cancer Society, Get in Shape Club, and the Yoga and Wellness Club. Cultural clubs consisted of Beards & Flatcaps and Pars Club (Persian Cultural Society). On the academic side, two journals officially applied for club recognition. Finally, the Environmental Society is new on campus as well.

Some clubs begin with the initiative of one or two individuals as a platform for like-minded people to come together. “We serve the unique, out-of-the box students of YU,” Binyamin Goldman (Syms ’18) said of the club Beards & Flatcaps, of which he is president. “We would have called it the Hipster Club, but that would have antithetical to our mission.” Goldman sees his club’s mission as “providing introspective people with fun experiences,” such as trips to museums followed by discussion about the exhibits seen.

Maccabees Melee came from similar origins. President Michael Alpert (YC ’15) said a friend was exposing him to diverse martial arts “through YouTube videos and by going to watch fights here in New York. We thought it would be a cool idea to start a club at YU to see if there are others out there who were also into this sort of sport.” The club’s goal is to expose members to the “various martial arts techniques and styles from around the world,” Alpert stated.

Other groups achieved official club status with a larger membership already on board. “It came to a point where about ten of us were playing hockey regularly,” said Ice Hockey Club President Miles Wolmark (YC ’16), a history major. “There isn’t really anything hockey-oriented at YU, but a lot of people care about hockey here,” he remarked. Wolmark said he and his colleagues are seeking to make an ice hockey club team at YU.

The two journals which applied for official recognition by the General Assembly have actually been around for a while. The Yeshiva University Journal of Fine Arts, for one, is currently in its fifth year of publication. Editor-in-Chief Makena Owens (SCW ’16) explained: “Club status allows us to better communicate with deans and student councils for funding and also enables us to have events,” which the journal has not held in the past. Majoring in English literature herself, Owens said student contributors are from a variety of majors. “That is the beauty of the journal. It showcases artistic and literary talents across all disciplines,” she reflected.

Jonathan Green (YC ’15), Editor-in-Chief of the Political Science Journal of YU, said the publication has been around since the ‘70s. After a bout of inconsistent distribution, “the journal as a whole was due for some important improvements, in terms of aesthetics, marketing, editing, and overall professionalism,” Green said. Double-majoring in political science and Jewish studies, he is “excited to be part of the journal's revival,” which includes, among other improvements, “a wonderful cast of students,” a “supportive” faculty advisory board, and significant expansion beyond YC to Stern College for Women. Green hopes official recognition as a YCSA and SCWSC publication “lays the groundwork for future years of cross-campus cooperation on this project."

Natan Szegedi (YC ’15), Chairman of the General Assembly and President of the Yeshiva Student Union, said the GA approves a club if it brings “new, not-existing club interest to campus.” Szegedi reported that the GA also evaluates the positive impact a club can have on the student body, the new ideas it could bring and its inherent value. There are some technical requirements, too, such as collecting 20 signatures and having the support of a faculty advisor. GA approval gives clubs official recognition on the Wilf Campus. The General Assembly consists of the four respective presidents of YSU, SOY, YCSA, and SYMSSC and the senior co-chair of the Student Life Committee.

Student opinion seemed divided about the GA inductions. Eli Azrak (YC ’17) a sophomore double majoring in biology and psychology, thought the addition of new clubs “shows YU’s commitment to expanding extracurricular opportunities for students.” Conversely, a sophomore majoring in political science wondered how new clubs with small memberships continue to be approved even amidst YU’s financial troubles.

“The financial concerns of the University have no bearing on clubs,” Szegedi said about spending on student activities. “Student Council budgets are collected from a separate Student Activity Fee that is part of the tuition - our budgets are only affected by the number of students enrolling each year and has nothing to do with the overall financials of the University,” the GA Chairman affirmed.

Funding for club-sponsored events are appropriated “on an event-to event basis,” Szegedi explained. “There is no allotted budget for each club per semester; rather we try to work on individual events they request and find appropriate expenditures based on that.”

The Szegedi’s reaction to the new student groups? He remained enthusiastic: “A diverse selection of clubs ensures that everyone can find events and extracurricular activities that interest them.” He is confident that the new clubs “will take their responsibility to deliver great events with maximum care.”

“It's always exciting to see new ideas and areas of interest being offered to the students,” Szegedi remarked.