From the YSU Vice President's Desk: Seize the Moment
Entering my junior year of high school at Torah Academy of Bergen County in Teaneck, I always thought, “Why would I want to go YU if it’s the same thing as high school?” I was convinced that I did not want to live in the “bubble” of the Modern Orthodox world after high school — until Purim of 2015, when a few friends and I ventured to the famous “YU Purim Chagigah.” I was inspired by the amazing music, epic dancing and how much fun and shtick was going on that night.
Then it hit me. It’s true that YU may be the same thing as high school, but who says that high school ever had to end?
In TABC, I was on all of the “joke” and “nebby” teams. I was on Varsity Wrestling, captain of the chess team, captain of the track team, and president of the Israeli Day Parade Committee. Generally, no one really paid much attention towards those extra curriculars, but I put them on the radar. I constantly hung up funny fliers, ordered sick t-shirts/jerseys, created a warm atmosphere for people on my team and pulled off some great shtick. For example, I cut one student who had been accepted into Princeton from the Chess team. I then hung up posters of that student all around school exclaiming, “Got into Princeton. Couldn’t make Chess. We’re exclusive.”
Coming into YU, I knew that I wanted to be involved with extracurriculars just like I was in high school. On my first day of YU, in the Post Pesach Program, I reached out to the captain of the Cross Country team Jon Greenberg (YC ‘20) and inquired if I could join the team. I had my own personal tryout a few days later where I qualified for the team, becoming the first Post Pesach student to join an NCAA team.
In my sophomore year, I joined student council as Sophomore Representative. I helped out with the planning of a few major events, such as the Yoms events and organizing the Avengers: Endgame movie night. This year, I decided to take my experiences further and was elected as the Vice President of Clubs.
I think this role is fitting for me as someone who is highly involved with clubs on campus. I am part of dozens of clubs, including as the head of the Chess Club, VP of YU Democrats, a member of the board of the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) Club, a staff writer for The Commentator, Lighting Engineer for YCDS. I’m also involved in YUPAC and Model UN, and I am a Resident Advisor and a Student Ambassador.
So far this year, I have found success with my goals. This past September, Elka Wiesenberg (VP of Clubs at Stern) and I organized the Panoply Trivia Night. It was a lot of fun, and over 150 students participated. I am in the works of running a private showing of Star Wars Episode IX which I hope will be very enjoyable. In addition to the things that have already happened, I have a lot more exciting ideas in development.
In organizing these events, I have seen many facets of our university, and understand a lot of what is going through the mindset of the students. Unlike the general belief that MYP students don’t do extracurriculars, I am an MYP student in Rav Koenigsberg’s shiur. I think being in MYP and being part of so many extracurriculars and facets of the school gives me a wide range of viewpoints, which I believe is a critical component of being part of student council.
I have many goals as VP of Clubs. For starters, I am trying to get a shuttle in the morning for Stern students living in the Heights. I want to try and get an omelette station in the Cafe for breakfast. I want to initiate Spirit Week on Wilf Campus similar to what happens on Beren Campus by organizing a huge comedy night or talent show in addition to giving out tons of free swag. Most of all, as a YP student, I want to try and facilitate more coed interactions among the campuses in a Kosher setting that all students can feel comfortable to attend.
Based on my personal experiences, I believe that on our campus, it is possible to make change happen. I feel like our campus is so divided, and we all just argue with one another instead of trying to fix what we believe is broken. Our university is full of incredible students who all come from different backgrounds and have different goals. There are certain issues which bring out that divide more so than others, but I believe it’s important not to let that divide incite hatred against one another. Instead, we should use this divide to make us a stronger whole. We should understand that each student and opinion matters and appreciate everyone’s different perspectives. It’s in our hands to break this divide.
I believe taking action is a crucial aspect of our time at YU. The Office of Student Life, the Housing Office, the Admissions Office and the faculty at our university want us to succeed. For every event and idea I’ve worked on or organized I have found the support and resources to make it possible. It was just a few weeks ago that I ran a Rubin 7 Floor Shabbaton on Beren Campus by reserving Minyan Men for the week. The MCU Club has already run two movie event showings, and I’ve met dozens of fellow Marvel fans in YU because of it.
I am confident that each and every one of you reading this can have an impact. Whether it’s attending a large event, organizing a small meeting or just sitting next to someone who’s eating alone in the lunchroom, you can make a difference. I am constantly looking for feedback and ideas from my fellow classmates, and if you have any suggestions, please speak to me and I will help you towards achieving those goals.
Our university is not perfect, but no university is. We, as students of YU, have a unique opportunity to become leaders throughout the Jewish world. That opportunity starts on campus. It’s up to you to seize the moment.
Photo Caption: As Vice President of Clubs, Greenberg participates in lots of clubs.
Photo Credit: Zach Greenberg