The Heshe and Harriet Seif Jewish Learning Initiative on Campus (JLIC) of the Orthodox Union will present the first annual Learn-A-Thon from March 29-April 4, an inter-campus opportunity to learn Torah and support JLIC at the same time.
The participating campuses are divided into two divisions:
Division A includes: University of Pennsylvania; Rutgers University; University of Maryland; Brandeis University; New York University; York University/University of Toronto (Canada); and Brooklyn College.
Division B includes: Boston University; UCLA; Cornell University; Johns Hopkins University; Yale University; University of Illinois; University of Massachusetts; and Princeton University.
Campus winners will be chosen from two categories: Most Hours Learned and Most Money Raised. Winners in each category will be able to choose one of three prize options: a $500 gift certificate to Artscroll; an iPod Touch (32 GB); or a Nintendo Wii Console.
Students are encouraged to recruit sponsors to pledge a certain amount of money per hour of learning; at the end of the Learn-A-Thon, sponsors will be told how much they owe based on the total number of hours learned by their pledges. Through this new initiative, JLIC educators are hoping to encourage more learning on campus – even one hour of learning is encouraged – and to raise funds for JLIC programming.
A minimum of $1000 raised through the sponsorship and a minimum of 15 hours learned for each individual is necessary to qualify for a prize.
There will also be a prize for the campus with the greatest participation in the Learn-A-Thon, which will be indicated by the total combined hours of learning. The campuses who win the prize in each division will receive a $500 contribution from JLIC towards an event of its choice.
Each campus will appoint a student committee to create a national “Night of Learning,” to be held on Thursday night, April 2, traditionally a night of mishmar-style learning for many JLIC campuses. Students are encouraged to bring along non-Orthodox students and other non-regular JLIC participants.
Rabbi Menachem Schrader, Founding Director of JLIC, declared, “The Learn-A-Thon is a beautiful combination of Torah, derech eretz (acting with consideration and kindness) and hakarat hatov (gratitude) for the people who are making JLIC happen.”
Rabbi Ilan Haber, National Director of JLIC, stated, "The Orthodox Union has invested millions of dollars towards supporting the well-being of traditional students on secular campuses through its JLIC program. The Learn-A-Thon is an opportunity for students to express hakarat hatov (gratitude) for this investment, and to contribute to the program's continuing efforts. In addition, there is sometimes a misconception that Orthodox life on secular campuses is lacking. In fact, there are thriving communities with students that make a proactive commitment to communal involvement and Jewish learning. I hope that through the Learn-A-Thon the vibrancy of these communities and their involvement in Torah will become apparent to all."
Adam Teitcher of Oceanside, NY, a senior at Penn and a JLIC intern, is helping coordinate the program for student leaders. He declared, "The JLIC program fosters the growth of Orthodox life on campus by supporting and enhancing Torah study there, so the Learn-A-Thon is a great way to use the success and impact of JLIC on each campus to raise large-scale awareness and support for the program."
He continued, "The Learn-A-Thon will hopefully make both the participants and supporters realize that JLIC plays an essential role in the teaching and strengthening of Torah values on each campus."
For more information, visit www.jliconline.org/learn. If you are interested in participating, speak to your campus JLIC educators. They can be reached at the Hillel facility on campus.