UConn Hillel has been impacting Jewish individuals and communities since the early 1930's. Every few years the organization's mission and vision change while the focus on the individual and Jewish community stays the same.
Since 1933, there has been a Hillel at UConn, forming as a student group and providing a safe haven to Jews on the UConn campus. At that point in our history, we had no formal home; the Congregational Church on the corner of 195 and N. Eagleville Road provided us with the space needed to worship. In 1947, the University of Connecticut, under the leadership of President Albert Jorgenson (1935-1962) offered us land for the construction of a home and a synagogue. The Moses A. Savin Hillel House was dedicated in 1949.
Operating as a synagogue on campus through the 1990's, the B'nai B'rith Hillel Foundation of Connecticut, Inc., independent Board of Directors, and 501(c)(3) were formed in 1991. Each decade has brought its changes, but each year Jewish life has grown, enlarging UConn's Jewish student peer network.
In 2009, UConn Hillel went under renovation for the first time since 1947. Flooding and mold forced officials to shutter the building several years before, and students and Hillel staff were forced out into the ground floor of Sousa/Lafayette, a residence hall in the Towers complex. On October 10th, 2010, the Trachten-Zachs Hillel House was opened to our students and the community with a new vision, mission, and direction, re-energizing Jewish Life at UConn.
With our new facility and expanded annual fundraising, Hillel has increased the number of students in its semester experiences from 50 in 2009 to over 850 presently. Now Jewish students from all over the country comprise about 10% of the student body.
circa November 6, 1949
Students gather in the Moses A. Savin Hillel House, pictured before renovations.