We are excited to cast this week’s spotlight on University at Buffalo alum, Logan Woodard, the Director of Engagement at Hillel of Buffalo. Born and raised in Syracuse, it was there that Logan first realized his passion for Jewish Life, Israel, and of course, SU basketball! Before attending the University at Buffalo, Logan enlisted in the U.S. Army National Guard and served four years as an Infantryman. Logan graduated from UB in February 2017 where he studied History and Judaic Studies. While an undergrad, Logan was active in various leadership roles including Hillel, the Jewish Student Union, and co-founded both UB for Israel and the Judo club. Logan is grateful to be working at his alma mater and continuing his involvement with Hillel of Buffalo. In his free time, you can find Logan enjoying coffee, getting creative in the kitchen, and pursuing his passion for martial arts.
Engaging students on campus has undoubtedly looked different this year for Logan and the team at Hillel. Along with Rabbi Sara Rich and Macie Clawson, Logan has worked hard to create opportunities for students to safely connect in meaningful ways. Two initiatives Hillel created stand out in particular; Herd Community and the Pop-Up Pumpkin Patch. Herd Community was Hillel’s response to the anxiety students were feeling coming into the semester. The Herd Community platform encouraged students to connect with their friends and family, keep active, and stay focused on their academics whether they were physically in Buffalo or home for the semester. The Pop-Up Pumpkin Patch was a collaborative event between Campus Living, Campus Dining and Hillel. Together, they created a pumpkin patch with pumpkins scattered across a field outside UB’s primary dining hall. Over 150 students participated in this pop-up by picking their own pumpkin, taking pictures, and donating to UB’s on campus food bank. These two initiatives helped bring moments of joy into the lives of students. Logan is looking forward to next semester and creating an Israeli cooking initiative he hopes will connect students to Israel, complicate the notion of “Jewish food”, and provide students with important kitchen skills.
Another moment of light in this dark year came in July when Logan and his roommate, Ben Balderman opened the doors to Buffalo’s first Moishe House presence. Moishe House is a Jewish non-profit organization that supports residents between the ages of 22 – 32 in creating Jewish community uniquely shaped by the residents who live together and host programs for their peers. There are more than 100 Moishe House communities in over 25 countries around the world. Logan and Ben are the residents of Moishe Pod Buffalo, the 18th Moishe Pod to open. Through their various events such as socially distant brunches, exercise groups, and zoom holiday celebrations, Logan and Ben have had more than 200 engagements and look forward to continuing to create meaningful, fun, and exciting opportunities for their peers in Buffalo.