With the expansion of student engagement and extracurricular activities on campus
over the last several years, new student organizations
are being established more and more frequently - there have been three to four just within the past 10 months. Two new student organizations officially began this October, both with similar goals of welcoming and educating the Salus community about the populations they serve. On October 10, the Salus chapter of Hillel introduced itself through the event “Sushi in the Sukkah.” Hillel members provided free sushi for attendees and hosted the event in a sukkah, a temporary hut constructed during the Jewish festival of Sukkot. Beth Katz ’21OD, Salus Hillel founder, wanted to host a fun event that also showcased different aspects of Jewish culture.
Hillel is the largest Jewish student organization in the world, with chapters at more than 550 colleges and universities. Katz thought creating a chapter of Hillel at Salus would help bring students together and bond over commonalities across ethnicities.
“I’m from New York, and I’m used to being surrounded by things that remind me of my religion constantly,” she said. “School is stressful enough and people find religion relaxing. I thought it would be important to get all of us together and have this opportunity to share some of this common ground, not by program, but by something else.”
Marni Robins ’19OD, Dominic Brown ’20OD, Kaitlyn Kolzow ’19OD and Jadyn Sharber ’18OT initiated the development of SAGAS (Sexuality and Gender Alliance at Salus). As the first of its kind on campus, SAGAs is open to anyone interested in learning about and supporting LGBTQI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning and intersex) communities that face disparities in health and access to healthcare services, according to Robins. One of the main barriers being a widespread lack of cultural competence education about LGBTQI communities among practitioners, Sharber said.
“The mission statement of SAGAS is to provide a forum for the discussion of LGBTQI health issues as they relate to each of the healthcare disciplines represented at Salus University and to increase the visibility of the LGBTQI community at Salus,” Robins said. “As healthcare providers, we want to build the relationship between the healthcare and LGBTQI communities, while paying special attention to the unique needs of LGBTQI individuals.”
According to Sharber, the team is currently planning a few upcoming events to raise money for local and national organizations that help vulnerable LGBTQI populations, such as Valley Youth House, The Trevor Project, and The Attic, and are planning a few social events as well. The first social event was held at the annual Chestnut Hill Harry Potter festival for both members and non-members alike and a baked sale to benefit Valley Youth House was held on October 26.
“We will also be promoting volunteering opportunities and planning free health screenings that are open to everyone and focus on addressing some of the health disparities that LGBTQ populations face,” Sharber said.
Those interested in becoming a member of Hillel can email firstname.lastname@example.org
, while those interested in joining SAGAS can email email@example.com