Before going to visit Ben Gurion University in Be’er Sheva, we had gotten a taste of the vision and passion for empowerment, growth and development of the community found in the people who live in the city, such as Sol Fayerman- Hansen from the Or Movement. His same dedication and excitement towards progress and making his own contribution to the community was echoed at the University, which was so remarkable and inspiring for me.
After an overview discussion of the University, one thing that became very clear was the school’s dedication to intellectual and social progress through empowerment of the surrounding community. Following Ben Gurion’s vision of being pioneers in developing the Negev, the school not only values academic excellence, but also excellence in serving the community, which is a crucial part of the experience as a student at BGU. We spoke with two students about their experience as BGU Undergraduates who highlighted the fact that through their service projects, they themselves are motivated and inspired as they see firsthand the meaning of the work they do.
This idea of dedication to sharing knowledge resonated with me. At the University of Pennsylvania where I am currently a Junior, my peers are highly involved in working with the neighboring community and communities around the world to make them a better place. Myself personally, I have worked within my Latino Honors Society, Cipactli, in several community service and outreach programs in Philadelphia, in addition to my work with PoverUP, a microfinance action platform created by students to fight poverty, increase awareness about microfinance and social enterprise, and give members the opportunity to invest in social business and microfinance institutions. Yet as I walked out of BGU, I was inspired to do even more and have service and community action be a more central part of my experience at Penn! Upon returning to campus in the next couple of days, I look forward to seeking more opportunities in which I can create an even more positive impact on my campus and its surrounding communities.