By: Yossi Zimilover  | 

January News Briefs

Fitness Center Upgrades on Wilf Campus

The Sy Syms Fitness Center on the Wilf Campus was renovated and furnished with new equipment over the course of winter break. The old equipment was moved to a room within the Lucile and Sidney Burdick Lounge in the Morgenstern Residence Hall basement to serve as a secondary fitness center for students who live in Morgenstern.

Director of Athletics Joe Bednarsh stated that “as part of our continuing efforts to improve the facilities and services we offer to the student body, we are very pleased that we were able to renovate what was an aging fitness center.” Bednarsh described the new equipment as “top of the line” and thanked YU Facilities and Housekeeping, as well as Associate Director of Athletics Gregory Fox, for their work in the upgrade. He added that he is hoping to now turn his attention to the five fitness centers on the Beren Campus.

The Sy Syms Fitness Center is located on the first floor of the Max Stern Athletic Center and features a variety of fitness machines including stationary bicycles, weights and treadmills. 

Zev Lowy (SSSB ‘22) noted that the machines are “new and sleek and there are a lot more of them.” He also said that the center “is also much cleaner and it feels better to be there.”

Jonathan Schwab, the Wilf Campus Director of University Housing and Residence Life (UHRL), credited Wilf UHRL Assistant Director Natan Bienstock with the idea of forming a new fitness center in Morg with the old equipment.

50 Students Attend Inaugural Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning Club Event 

The Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) and Machine Learning Club, formed in the fall, held its first event at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 29 on the Wilf Campus. Aryeh Klein (YC ‘20) and Moshe Weinreb (YC ‘20), the co-presidents of the club, presented about the aforementioned topics and held a demonstration that showed an example of the technologies’ capabilities. 

Approximately 50 students attended the event, double the 25 that Klein and Weinreb had expected. “We were all excited and surprised by the large turnout,” commented Weinreb. “Having visible evidence of a strong interest from the student body has validated our efforts so far, and we are looking forward to more teaching events where we delve a little deeper into the fundamentals of Machine Learning throughout the rest of the semester.”

The demo showed code that used machine learning to “classify handwritten numbers into their digital counterpart,” according to Klein. He explained that they wanted to “show people what the data science track is” and give people an opportunity to taste the “cool stuff,” that students only get to near the end of the major. He added that they wanted to “fill a void” for those in the other tracks at YC and for SCW Computer Science students who don’t have the opportunity to take classes in these areas.

Data Science is one of the three tracks the YC Computer Science department offers and focuses on A.I. and machine learning, along with natural language processing and data management, visualization, and cleaning. The club is operating independently from the department. 

New Intercampus Shuttle App

The new intercampus shuttle appointment website has recently been completed and is currently in a beta testing stage, according to Chief Facilities and Administrative Officer Randy Apfelbaum.

In September, Apfelbaum told the Commentator, “we are working on a completely new app which will resolve all the problems of the old one,” and had hoped to have the new one completed by the chagim.

Students had long been frustrated with the booking system for the intercampus shuttle due to its slow loading time and its requirement that students log off before logging back in every time they wished to book an intercampus shuttle.

The new app features an updated design and the log-in credentials are now the same ones that students use to log in to their printing and OneCard accounts. Previously, students were required to create a unique account for booking intercampus shuttles.

Rabbi Russ Shulkes Hired for Institutional Advancement Position at RIETS

Rabbi Russ Shulkes was appointed as Associate Dean and Associate Vice President of Institutional Advancement at the Rabbi Issac Elchanan Theological Seminary (REITS) in Dec. 2019.

Previously, he served as the Executive Director of Hillels of Georgia, which oversaw over 24 campuses in the state, including Emory University and the University of Georgia. According to his LinkedIn profile, Rabbi Shulkes graduated from Yeshiva University in 2003 with a B.A. in Philosophy. 

Rabbi Shulkes told the Atlanta Jewish Times that “if my work with Hillel was focused on identity, I’m really looking forward to working on ideology” in his new position at YU. The same article stated that by his count, “he has at least 14 familial ties to the institution, from his wife, to his brother and sister and more.”

Rabbi Shulkes is not the first YU administrator to have experience at Hillel. Before coming to YU, former President Richard Joel served as President and International Director of Hillel from 1989 to 2003.

Rabbi Shulkes was unable to be reached for comment.