By: Elliot Heller  | 

New Shabbat Programming Database Aims to Better Determine Students’ Wants

The Office of Undergraduate Housing and Residence Life is doing its part to enhance Shabbat on campus. Through a new data-driven initiative called ‘Shabbat Report’, the administration hopes to better determine which parts of Shabbat programming students like more than others. The office hopes that the database, which tracks everything from attendance and event type (tisch, panel, etc) to more nuanced factors, like the weather that day and the type of food that was served, will them be able to get a more exact science of what works and what doesn’t, and aid in planning future programming.

“The true benefits lie in the data collected over the long term,” said Yair Strachman. “After time, the database won't just tell us whether a specific program (like a tisch with a specific Rosh Yeshiva) was successful or not, but tells us what the necessary qualities of a successful event are. For instance, a panel discussion with excellent speakers could end up with very low attendance. But that doesn't mean no one likes panels or that the topic was uninteresting!”

“If we looked at the data, we could learn that in fact, the time slot of the panel, let's say immediately after Shabbos lunch, always generates low turnout, whereas panel discussions overall do bring positive results in other time slots. This has obvious benefits for anyone who wants to plan events in the future.

“Overall, everyone working on student and residence life on the Wilf Campus is committed to listening and learning from the students themselves,” said Strachman, “and this is one of the best ways to do that.”