This past semester at the University of Connecticut, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) Connecticut office launched the I-Pitch for Israel Fellowship, a program for students interested in Israel advocacy. The fellowship will be followed in November by a pro-Israel week, organized by UConn I-Pitch student fellows.
Piloted several years ago at ADL’s San Diego office, the I-Pitch Fellowship is a five-part program designed to educate students about Israel and empower them to make their campus more Israel-friendly. Connecticut is the second ADL regional office to run the fellowship.
The first four sessions of I-Pitch address a wide range of topics on Israel and advocacy tools, including but not limited to Israeli culture; the history of the land; understanding free speech on college campuses; the difference between anti-Israel activity and anti-Semitism; and coalition building. For the fifth session, the students submit a grant proposal and pitch ideas that they feel will improve the pro-Israel environment on their campus. ADL then provides seed money for the projects deemed to be well-conceived and financially viable.
As a result, ADL is using I-Pitch funds to sponsor a pro-Israel week on the University of Connecticut campus this coming November. Students will bring in several speakers, raise money for an Israeli charity, and give away Israeli snacks in high-traffic areas on campus to promote the weeklong initiative.
“We are pleased that this pro-Israel week and all of the related activities are a direct result of ADL and its I-Pitch Fellowship. This select group of fellows is spending their summer planning their project so that it will be a success next semester,” said Josh Sayles, assistant regional director of ADL’s Connecticut office. “It’s exciting to see a group of students who are so passionate about spreading a pro-Israel message on their college campus. We have every reason to believe that their initiative will positively impact the UConn community. We’d like to extend an extra special thanks to UConn Hillel, which co-sponsored and hosted I-Pitch.”