Growth in enrollment has led George Mason University to plan the relocation of the offices of Hillel and other organizations in the Campus Ministries Association at the end of the 2019-2020 school year.
Hillel uses its office space in the Johnson Center for its full-time staff members, to hold meetings and events with students, and as a central location for students to inquire about the organization.
Vice President of University Life Rose Pascarell said in a statement: “The university’s continued enrollment growth has led us to embark on a space utilization study that will help us maximize current spaces throughout the university,” she wrote. “I anticipate that during the spring semester, we’ll have a firmer grasp on where CMA [Campus Ministries Association] may be relocated, and we’ll proceed with care and thoughtfulness about students’ needs as well as the university’s overall needs for office, meeting and collaborative spaces.”
George Mason University will communicate with Mason Hillel and the Campus Ministries
Association to try to find another location for office spaces, said Na’ama Gold, Mason Hillel’s executive director.
Having a physical space is an important part of accessibility for Mason Hillel and the other religious organizations that are part of the Campus Ministry Association, said Chanel Shirazi, a senior at George Mason.
“People feel like they can have a home away from home,” said Shirazi, who is an
assistant at Hillel.
Junior Sarah Freedman, Mason Hillel’s Israel chair, agreed that the physical space can make a big impact on students.
“Having that physical space to go to where I could have that connection with my homeland have been invaluable to my experience at Mason,” Freedman said.
Plus, being in close proximity with other religious groups helps strengthen interfaith bonds, Shirazi added. “I have great relationships with some of the student faith leaders on campus. It’s something we really enjoy and feel is kind of a Hillel value to do.”
Until it completes its study, the university cannot comment on how the space in the Johnson Center will be used once the Campus Ministries Association moves out, said Melanie Balog, director of news and content.