For the Record Summer '11

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AJU Students Represent Finland at U.N.

How is it that AJU students came to represent Finland at the United Nations? No, not the United Nations in New York, but rather a simulation program for college students known as the Model United Nations of the Far West - or MUNFW. At this annual conference, students engage in mock sessions of the United Nations in an effort to advance their understanding of the nations of the world, relationships between countries, policies and principles by which they operate and the nature of the work done by the United Nations. AJU students have participated in this unique opportunity for almost twenty years.

Preparation for the MUNFW Conference, under the direction of Lois Oppenheim Ph.D., Co-Chair of the Political Science Department, is intense. In the time span of several months, students delve into the details of what it means to be a citizen of another country. The conference assigns the team a different country every year; this time it was Finland. They had to study Finnish culture, history, economic structure and politics, and understand what position Finland would take on a myriad of social, economic, military and political issues, including with whom they might ally. In addition, each student sits on a different UN committee and therefore has to learn about the specific issues that his/her committee would be discussing. This year's MUNFW issues included the effects of climate change on urban housing, the needs of the internally displaced, rights of migrant workers and how to deal with the consequences of failed states, just to name a few. Furthermore, the students had to be well practiced in the specific parliamentary rules of the Conference.


M.A.ED. Grad Brings Experiential Learning to Life

Matt SpoonerTen years ago, experiential education was a learning tool featured mainly in summer camps. Today, it is recognized as an effective approach to Jewish education and has become a part of the curriculum in many day schools, synagogues, youth groups and of course camps. Experiential education attempts to bring learning alive through hands-on, authentic activities - the experiences of real life.

AJU's Graduate Center for Education believes that among the many ways to learn, "experiential education" is incredibly powerful as it provides insights, understandings and techniques beyond traditional styles of education. Innovations in experiential education can provide a framework for the transformation of Jewish education in North America, particularly in the supplemental schools and the so-called "informal" settings of summer camp, youth groups and trips to Israel. AJU's forward thinking graduate programs in education produce leaders with the knowledge, skills and creativity needed to bring new visions of education to life.

One such graduate is Becca Bodenstein ('07), who tells us that following graduation, her career as an educator, activist and entrepreneur exploded. Today she is the Director of Jewish Life at the New Community Jewish High School, where she teaches, Judaism and the Environment, and is responsible for both the school's organic garden and their community supported agricultural program.


MBA Program Partners with MAZON in the Fight Againts Hunger

AJU's Graduate School of Nonprofit Management (GSNM) is kicking off the new school year by offering MBA students an exceptional opportunity to participate in grant funding while at the same time, helping to reduce hunger in our community. What makes this so unique? Three elements: MAZON, a prominent nonprofit organization dedicated to preventing and alleviating hunger among people of all faiths, has, for the first time, invited a graduate school to partner in launching a new initiative, the first annual Innovation Fund Planning Grant. It is highly unusual for MBA students, who will most likely be requesting grants in the future, to have the opportunity to participate in the grant funding process. And perhaps most significant, this collaboration will translate into helping develop innovative programs to alleviate hunger and promote nutrition.

MAZON proposes to fund grants of up to $5,000 to organizations that can substantively develop an innovative idea and produce a well-designed plan that outlines the issues of hunger and nutrition in our community. To apply, the organization must be a 501(C) (3), meet the August 12, 2011 deadline and be available to attend a community award presentation in the fall of 2011.