UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State’s Jewish community will soon have a new home as Penn State Hillel has announced its plans for its first permanent facility.
Hillel, which serves the roughly 4,000 Jewish students at Penn State, will move into an 18,000-square-foot facility in downtown State College in 2021. The facility is part of a new downtown development at the corner of Garner Street and Beaver Avenue, and the site will include student housing, retail space and parking in addition to the two floors dedicated to Penn State Hillel.
"Penn State Hillel has been a true partner in enhancing the campus experience for all of our students. It works to promote academic excellence, social justice, ethical leadership, and global citizenship,” said Penn State President Eric Barron. “Hillel's stellar record of service, involving students from every corner of campus, is a wonderful complement to Penn State students' academic studies and helps to bind the Penn State family together. Penn State Hillel has long held a special place on our campus.”
The new facility will include a welcoming lounge and study spaces, shared staff and student leadership workspace, flexible events spaces and a private terrace. Previously one of only two Hillel organizations at a Big Ten school without a dedicated facility, this new downtown home will support Penn State Hillel’s mission to create a pluralistic, welcoming, and inclusive environment for Jewish students where they can grow intellectually, spiritually, and socially.
“This is not just a building. We’re creating a nerve center to enable Jewish life, in all its varied forms, to thrive across campus and to expand our engagement with the entire Penn State community,” said Aaron Kaufman, executive director of Penn State Hillel. “Today, when countless opportunities and possibilities are available to students from every direction, Jewish life must be visible, authentic and attractive.”