Behind every event and meeting hosted by Kean’s many organizations, there are executive board officers working hard to make sure that every aspect has been thoroughly organized and planned. One of these officers is sophomore Lydia Schustermann, the secretary of Kean’s Hillel.
Kean University Hillel is one of more than 550 campus Hillels throughout the country with a mission of educating all students, whether Jewish or non-Jewish, on the culture and practices of Judaism. Throughout the year, the group holds general body meetings, as well as various events that entertain and educate simultaneously.
Schustermann is majoring in biology on the health professions track with a minor in Spanish. She decided to get involved with Hillel when she started attending Kean.
“My inspiration for joining Kean Hillel was to join a club that would have such a familial environment to it. Even though I am Jewish, you do not need to be Jewish to join Hillel, and it is for that reason that we have such a diverse general body,” Schustermann said.
She took on even more responsibility this year by becoming the secretary of the organization.
“As secretary, my main duties are to make sure that all room reservations are entered properly, our Cougar Link roster is up to date, and most importantly, to take minutes of any and all meetings.”
Apart from Hillel, Schustermann is a team leader in Jumpstart and a member of the Biology Club. She also works part-time off campus and is looking into joining Kean’s Greek life.
She said that the balancing act between these responsibilities can be tough yet rewarding.
“While it is challenging to juggle my school work, extracurricular activities, and my part-time job off campus, I try to stay as positive as possible,” Schustermann said. “There may be times where school work gets overwhelming, but I find that the more involved I get, the less I actually let my stressors affect me.”
She also noted that, while her various commitments occupy much of her time, they make her busy schedule more bearable because of how fond she is of them.
“When I go to club meetings, I'm enjoying myself and not thinking about all of the work I could be doing in that moment. That's also why I believe it's so important to do what you love because if you're not enjoying the way you spend your time, then you will let those stressors affect you so much more,” Schustermann said.
While maintaining such a high level of involvement can be overwhelming to even the most hardworking and organized student, Schustermann believes that the experiences she gained from being part of these groups, especially Kean Hillel, have been invaluable in shaping her time here. After graduating, she hopes to attend graduate school in pursuit of becoming a doctor of physical therapy and stay in touch with the other Kean Hillel members whom she now views as family.
“The members of Kean Hillel are my family, and I wouldn't have it any other way. We celebrate holidays together and truly care about the lives of each other, which means so much to me,” Schustermann said. “The people who I have met in Kean Hillel have left such a lasting effect on me through their kindness and generosity, which only makes me want to pay it all forward.”