The first year of college can be a challenging time of transition as students look for a place to belong. New students at UC San Diego and SDSU have help from Hillel to help make this transition easier. 

One of our amazing Triton Jewish Leaders at UCSD, Jasmine Elisha, started a program called FYSH (First Year Students of Hillel) to be a soft landing pad for first year students. This program serves to match up Freshman with a seasoned UCSD student that can be their mentor. There are by weekly events put on that have the Big and Little FYSH working together. The Mentor also helps show the freshman student the ropes of UCSD and how to navigate Jewish and campus life. FYSH has been an incredibly successful program so far this year! In addition to providing friends and mentors, we have biweekly FYSH-only programs which give students the opportunity to take a break from the stresses of everyday life as a college student and bond with one another. 

Earlier this month we prepared for Tu B’Shevat by planting seeds and decorating pots, giving the students an opportunity to learn about the holiday and take home something they can continue to nourish and grow alongside themselves. The FYSH pairings also hang out outside of Hillel events; we often hear of bigs and littles going to the beach together before Shabbat at Hillel, meeting up over winter break, giving advice on class schedules, and so much more!  

Jewish Campus Leader Jessica Kramer (SDSU ’23) uses her leadership position at SDSU Hillel to create a strong bond between her fellow members of the class of 2023. She has planned several freshmen only events including their most recent event of bowling night at Aztec Lanes.  Jessica is ecstatic to keep planning freshmen events so that our newest students can make lasting friendships and feel comfortable at Hillel.