Abelina J. Nuñez
The University of La Verne has a club on campus for those who want to be a leader for world peace but also be able to meet others to create a family bond. The Tikkun Olam International club allows everyone to express their beliefs openly without judgment.
Those who join the club are able to learn more about traditional Shabbat and Jewish practice and also share their own religious and non religious beliefs. The ongoing project that the club is having is the sock project.
“We are collecting supplies like socks, masks and other toiletries to donate to our local homeless in our surrounding areas as well as a women’s shelter we’ve been in contact with in Whittier,” Lindsey Preciado, vice president, social media and event coordinator of Tikkun Olam and sophomore digital media and television major, said.
There are boxes around campus where people can donate toiletries and supplies. People can donate toothbrushes, toothpaste, body and hair soap and deodorant. At the moment, there are three boxes located on campus, one at the Abraham Campus Center next to the pool table, one in Founders Hall next to the music library and another in the Barkley Building hallway.
Preciado said she works with the executive board in creating the flyers for their club and managing their social media and website. The executive board is J. Marcus Gratz de Lang, president and junior interdisciplinary studies major and Jacob Curiel, treasurer and freshman business major.
J. Marcus Gratz de Lang’s parents, Udit Gratz de Lang and Reed Gratz are also involved with the club. Udit Gratz de Lang, a ULV alumna, is the Tikkun Olam International den mother, while Reed Gratz, professor of music, is the advisor.
“I think it’s fabulous that my son gathers people of everything, not so much religion, but just everybody,” Udit Gratz de Lang said. “You come as you and what you bring to the table, we will listen.”
She said as the den mother of the club she wants to bring some foundation so the club members can use the tools she gives to use them on the way in their adventures. She does not want them to depend on her and wants them to go on their own missions.
“We all have this passion for helping and making things better in the community and therefore want to do it,” J. Marcus Gratz de Lang said. “My goal is to build a community and continue the Friday dinners and help the community, not just La Verne but outside La Verne (as well). That’s also one of our main things is to help and become a leader.”
On Fridays, the club members come together and meet at the Music Library in Founders, room FH16, to have their weekly dinner and be able to discuss how their week went along with the project they would like to accomplish.
“We kind of tend to do things differently, it’s not only me deciding things that (will) happen in the club,” J. Marcus Gratz de Lang said. “We discuss, and then we come up with things, then we vote. We like to go around the room and say yay, or nay and then kind of go off of that.”
Marcus Gratz de Lang asked Preciado to join the club to help him start it back up since the club was previously known as Hillel, and J. Marcus Gratz de Lang decided to start it back up as Tikkun Olam.
“We got Tikkun Olam up and running last August,” Preciado said. “We wanted a place where students can feel safe to talk with others and make friends regardless of religion and background. The club may be considered the Jewish life on campus, but we truly are more than that, most of our members aren’t Jewish, and we all have a great time learning about each other’s cultures and religion.”
She said the club has won the club fair twice and also won first place at the international education festival.
Curiel said he got involved with the club because a friend of his told him to check out the club booth and they handed him a flier to join them on Friday.
“My big thing was giving in to my curiosity and getting connected (to be) involved with my school, so from that, I found a new family on campus through Tikkun Olam,” he said. “Friday dinners or just the belief of sharing food with one another through fellowship resonates with me.”
For more information, visit their Instagram page @Tikkunolam.ulv
Abelina J. Nuñez can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Abelina J. Nuñez, a junior journalism major, is arts editor for the Campus Times and a staff photographer for the Campus Times and La Verne Magazine. She has previous served as LV Life editor, social media editor and staff writer.