Campus Life Team
Campus life provides students with the opportunity to explore and enjoy their exceptional campus community. The Arava Institute Campus Life Team ensures that there is a full calendar of social activities that increase environmental and cultural awareness on campus.
The Campus Team consists of the Campus Life Director, the Campus Life Coordinator, and two Program Associates. The Program Associates are alumni of the program. They live on campus with the student and work with the Campus Life Director and the Campus Life Coordinator in the daily running of the campus.
Campus Life Director
Tess Lehrich Haber:
Tess has been the Arava Institute’s Campus Life Director since Fall 2016. She moved to Israel in 2008 after earning a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology and History from New York University. Upon arrival, she immediately got involved in the budding environmental movement, leading grassroots initiatives such as community gardens and local composting projects. After a year in Beer Sheva working in the field of environmental justice, Tess moved to Tel Aviv, where she worked for Farmigo, a tech start-up working to create a platform for a local and sustainable food system. In 2012, Tess completed her Master’s degree in Environmental Studies at the Porter School for Environmental Studies at Tel Aviv University. Her professional experiences include managing a city wide project in waste separation at Hava V’Adam Ecological Farm in Modiin, working as a Resource Development Coordinator at the Heschel Center for Sustainability in Tel Aviv, and running an internship program for international Master’s students at her alma mater, the Porter School for Environmental Studies at Tel Aviv University. Tess is looking forward to new adventures with the next group of students and interns on campus!
Campus Life Coordinator
Yair Stolarski holds a Bachelor of Social Work from Tel Aviv University. For the last 15 years, he has been working in socially oriented positions like houseparent an the Ness Ziona Children and Youth Village, managing a regional psycho-social rehabilitation through occupation program, and most recently, establishing and managing a community residential project for young adults diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders. Yair has recently moved to Kibbutz Ketura with his wife and 2 children, and is excited to get ready for the Fall 2018 semester at the Arava Institute!
Anwar is from Beit Jann in the North of Israel. While studying Environmental Studies at Tel Hai College, she became involved in social and environmental activism early on. She volunteered in the Israeli Green Course for several years, and participated in an environmental peace-building project with the Arava Institute, eventually deciding to continue her studies at the Institute. After spending the last two semesters as a student, she is excited to return for another two semesters as a Program Associate!
Daniel first studied at the Arava Institute in the spring of 2015 as a junior at Wheaton College, MA, where he earned a Bachelors in Cultural Anthropology. At the Arava Institute, Daniel discovered a deep passion for conflict resolution and peacemaking efforts. His time at the Institute led him to study at the University of Malta where he earned a Masters’ degree in Conflict Resolution and Mediterranean Security. Daniel begins his position as a Program Associate in the Fall semester of 2018 and hopes to bring his love of coexistence and sustainability into student life on campus.
Campus Life Activities
Outside of their academic schedule, students frequently take part in a variety of extracurricular activities including desert hiking, yoga, gardening, camping, mud building, music and horseback riding. There are regular potluck dinners, festive meals and religious and secular holiday activities, as well as culture, music and movie nights.
Each semester, students are encouraged to form their own activity groups based on subjects they want to teach and learn. Past activities have included conversational Hebrew and Arabic, salsa dance, gardening and environmental action, and creative writing.
Students are also invited to take part in Kibbutz events, holidays, and general activities. Students often mingle with kibbutz members and volunteers at the kibbutz pub and have the opportunity to be hosted by a kibbutz family for meals and coffee during the semester.
Although there are students on campus during the weekends and breaks, during the semester many students choose to travel, often being hosted in the homes of classmates or alumni that they meet on the program. The Arava Road, or Highway 90, runs just outside the main kibbutz gate, with buses going south to Eilat (a resort city on the Red Sea that borders Aqaba, Jordan) and north to the Dead Sea (two hours away), Be’er Sheva (three hours away), Tel Aviv and Jerusalem (each four hours away). For a quicker get-away, students visit a neighboring kibbutz called Yotvata, which is famous for its delicious ice cream and chocolate milk, made fresh from Yotvata’s dairy.