Pro-Israel Vanderbilt students earn national honors

Thursday, May 28, 2009 at 1:06pm
Staff reports

Vanderbilt University students have been named top activists of the year by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, a foreign policy lobbying organization.

The students honored are part of Commodores for Israel, a student advocacy group that is part of the university’s Hillel Jewish campus life group. The students have, in the last year, expanded pro-Israel activism on campus through forums and media outreach.

In the aftermath of the recent conflict in Gaza, the students urged their peers to express support for Israel to Congress, holding educational events to engage pro-Israel students and using new media tools in efforts to broaden the pro-Israel base of supporters on campus.

Ari Dubin, executive director of Vanderbilt’s Hillel group, said in a statement that the award signals improvement of the quality of Jewish life on campus. The number of Jewish students at Vanderbilt has grown in the last few years, with Jewish students making up 3 percent of the student body six years ago to 14 percent in the last school year.

“Being politically engaged and vocal about issues is an important part of life, and I’m proud that members of Vanderbilt Hillel are passionate about making their voices be heard,” Dubin said in the statement.

The award for Commodores for Israel was given at AIPAC’s annual policy conference. Similar awards were also presented to student activists from Cornell University, Northwestern University and Duke University.