About Jewish Life
Puget Sound's Jewish student body is one of our largest cultural or spiritual communities on campus, and is supported both through the college (through the Center for Intercultural and Civic Engagement, the CICE) and through independent student clubs. In addition, many Jewish students connect most deeply within Greek Life, Athletics, or other student leadership positions. CICE provides support through University Chaplain Dave Wright and Jewish Life Coordinator Anna Petersen, as well as by convening a Jewish Life Advisory Council of Jewish students, faculty, and staff. At present, our Hillel Club is the primary Jewish-focused student group, but there is a new Jewish Student Union emerging to better connect the range of expressions of Judaism present on campus, as well as other clubs that are not specifically Jewish but engage matters important to many Jewish students (for example, J Street U).
Student Leadership in CICE
In addition to various leadership roles in the clubs, CICE regularly includes Jewish students in the Interfaith Coordinators Program, either to focus specifically on advocating for Jewish programs and resources, or to emphasize participation in broader intercultural and interfaith engagement. These students work alongside peers of various spiritual and cultural traditions to help develop a stronger pluralistic campus community (and world) in which all are welcome and included. CICE offers many additional student leadership and staff positions open to all students, but the Interfaith Coordinators program is a particular place for Jewish students to develop leadership skills.
Scholarships for Returning Students
Puget Sound, thanks to many generous alumni, offers returning students a wide range of scholarships related to religious and cultural leadership. These are open to students of all backgrounds, with only a few focused towards particular communities. Awards can range from $2,500 up to $15,000, and recognize a variety of ways students engage in leadership related to their cultural or spiritual identities both on or off campus.
One of the roles of the CICE is to help students connect with the broader Tacoma community. We maintain good relationships with both Temple Beth El (Reform) and Chabad of Tacoma/Pierce County, and actively support students who choose to participate in either community. Both are very welcoming to students, and have been very generous in extending hospitality to Loggers for the High Holidays, Pesach, and other major observances.
Dining On Campus
While Puget Sound is not able to offer a true Kosher meal plan for residential students, our Dining and Conference Services staff are more than willing to meet with students to discuss their particular needs and brainstorm options. We do maintain a vegetarian, kosher-style kitchen reserved for use by students for whom that meets some or all of their dietary needs, and students who follow a strict kosher diet have worked with their Rabbis to devise a way to make use of this kitchen for their meals. Unfortunately there is not a kosher caterer in Pierce County, so our options for kosher items are quite limited.
Our Professional Staff
Anna Petersen is in her second year as Jewish Life Coordinator, a part-time position designed to advise and support Jewish student communities while also working to increase institutional cultural intelligence related to the experiences and needs of our Jewish students. Anna is also an active member of Temple Beth El.
Dave Wright graduated from Puget Sound in 1996, and has served as University Chaplain since 2006. A key role of the chaplain here is to support and advocate for students of all religious, spiritual, and ethical backgrounds, and he works closely with our Jewish student, faculty, and staff leaders to continually improve the experiences of those who are Jewish who study, work, and live at Puget Sound. He also serves as the co-director of the Center for Intercultural and Civic Engagement.
Both Anna and Dave are very happy to answer any questions they are able -- or to work with you to find the answer if they don't know! You can reach either of them by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 253.879.2751.