The Hillel chapter at Colorado State is one of the first student-run organizations in the country to receive an international recognition known as the Hazon Seal of Sustainability.
Hazon is a Jewish organization that works to create a healthier, more sustainable Jewish community, and a healthier, more sustainable world.
The seal was granted to the CSU chapter for three projects that create a “sustainable circle.” Students run and maintain a garden that is used to prepare regular Friday meals for Shabbat, the Jewish holiday of rest. The meals are prepared and served in the Hillel house just off campus. A chicken coop was installed in the yard of the Hillel house, and students who are referred to as the “Chicken Tenders” care for the chickens and collect the eggs. The students have also built a composter that turns all of their waste into compost for their garden.
“These three projects fuel and feed off of each other to reduce the amount of waste that we produce,” said Nevan Mandel, president of the CSU Hillel. “Creating a sustainable way of living and respecting the earth is a very important part of Judaism, and we strive for that in our Hillel chapter.”
Mandel works with a leadership and intern team through the chapter, and several students who regularly attend Hillel events volunteer. Since Mandel established the projects, new sustainability intern Lindsay Robinson has been responsible for generating new ideas and maintaining the current projects.
“I mostly maintain the system that we have set up, and we are always looking to make improvements for a better system,” said Robinson.
Hillel is a student-run organization that is open to all students who want to participate in Jewish holidays and dinners, and embrace their culture. It is the only student organization at CSU or in the larger Hillel movement to have a chicken coop on site.
“Our Hillel chapter is a home away from home for Jewish students at CSU,” said Alex Amchislavskiy,campus director of CSU Hillel. “Even though we are more focused on creating a great environment for our Jewish students, it is great to see that so many of them are passionate about the Jewish values behind these sustainability projects.”
Hillel is focusing on three new projects for the 2018 spring semester, including a food pantry project, insulating the Merage Hillel House’s hot water pipes, and switching to cloth napkins to establish a completely reusable cutlery set.