Major: Marketing with a concentration in entrepreneurship
Favorite Jewish food: "My bubbe makes really good matzo ball soup."
Current jam song: "Let's say 'Golden Boy,' it's an Israeli-type song and I think it'll give people a good laugh."
When junior Nicki Stoller was a freshman at KU, she never did anything with Hillel or Jewish life at KU. In the middle of her sophomore year, she went on Birthright with Hillel and came back to school wanting to get involved.
After attending leadership classes at Hillel, she said she realized she found a new place on campus where she felt comfortable.
“Since getting involved in Hillel, I can definitely tell the difference between my attitude towards different things from when I wasn’t involved [in Jewish life on campus],” Stoller said. “When you walk into [Hillel], it’s sort of like another home.”
One of the ways Stoller works with Hillel this year is with Camp Hillel, a new program between KU Hillel and the Lawrence Jewish Community Center, where Jewish children from first to sixth grade in the Lawrence community go to Hillel and play games and participate in activities with Hillel students. After the first Camp Hillel a last semester, Stoller continued to plan more activities for the second one, which is this Saturday.
“It’s just really cool because we’re creating relationships with the kids and it’s cool for them to come in and see a bunch of college kids so involved in Jewish life,” Stoller said. “I think it gives [the kids] something to look forward to.”
Working on different programs like Camp Hillel is one of the things Stoller said she appreciates most about Hillel. She said Hillel has given her the opportunity to try out different ideas because the staff at Hillel invest in what she and other students want to do.
In addition to Camp Hillel, Stoller also started a toy drive with Hillel over the holiday season to give to a family in need. Through working on projects like this, Stoller said Hillel has helped her with other activities, like in her position as a teaching assistant at the business school.
“I would say Hillel has just given me a lot of confidence in a way,” Stoller said. “They’re just so supportive and they honestly just want to hear what you’re doing in your other activities and stuff.”
While Stoller said she enjoys the opportunities to lead programs and work with others in the Jewish community, she also said she likes to just spend time at Hillel with other students who have become her friends through different Hillel programs.
“It can also just be a place where you can talk to a bunch of people and laugh and joke with people and have insightful conversations,” Stoller said. “I’ve only had good things come out of [doing Hillel] for me.”