New home for Hillel

Above: This March 2011 photo shows Hillel’s addition to this home on Fredonia Avenue. The new facility will more than double the original square footage from 2,000 to 4,200. The exterior is now complete, as is the plumbing, electric, and heating and air conditioning. The project will be completed in August and dedicated September 21.

When Dr. Seth Katz became faculty adviser for Bradley Hillel in 1998, he made it a goal to find a new home for the organization that better fit its needs. With help from the Bradley and Peoria communities, that goal is finally becoming a reality.

Bradley’s Jewish student organization is almost done renovating 1530 Fredonia Avenue after moving from its home down the street to make way for the new Sigma Chi house in 2007.

Located at the southeast corner of Fredonia and Glenwood, the structure will have two kosher kitchens, a dining area with seating for 100, an office, library, space for social activities, and a large sanctuary with a vaulted ceiling and stained glass overlay on the windows.

“Diversity has always been a Bradley value,” said Katz, an assistant professor of English. “Having an attractive, highly functional facility for Jewish life on campus will help make the University a more attractive, diverse, and welcoming place.” The new Hillel house is set to welcome students this fall. 

– By Abby Wilson '10



Crawling towards creativity

About 40 students and faculty spent a sunny April afternoon in an unconventional classroom: Springdale Cemetery. The eclectic group, comprised of a wide variety of majors, was on a writing crawl, a field trip that puts participants in an inspirational setting for writing.

English instructors AMY EGGERT ’05 MA ’07 and MICHELLE WEBER CUSACK ’88 MA ’08 organized the event. They chose Springdale for multiple reasons, including the fact that Lydia Moss Bradley is buried there, along with other Bradley facility namesakes, like Valentine Jobst and Clarence Comstock.

LINDA AYLWARD ’80, a Peoria Public Library reference assistant, helped the group navigate the 223-acre cemetery.

Participants received a list of writing prompts, suggesting they write about their surroundings or the lives of those buried in the cemetery.

Some writers came with their own ideas, like CAITLIN SCHELL ’12 (right) who wanted to write more personal stories. “I’ve had several family members pass away over the last few years, and I’ve finally been able to write more about that,” she said as she sat near the Bradley family plot.

At the end of the afternoon, the group came together and some shared their writing and experiences with one another.

The instructors hope to offer another writing crawl in the fall.

– By Abby Pfeiffer '10