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
Illana was born in Russia and immigrated to Israel as a child. She was an Ecosystem Service assessment intern and a Program Associate at the Arava Institute during Aug-Dec 2015, an experience that influenced her greatly. In July 2018, she completed her MA at Tel Aviv University, researching social identity of sustainable fashion designers and consumers. She is the co-initiator of the Sustainable Fashion Forum in Israel as well as being involved with many cultural, social and sustainable projects, mainly in Tel Aviv, working with both local activists and decision makers. In addition, she worked at Tel Aviv University’s Porter School of Environmental Studies as an international internship coordinator. Illana lives a zero waste life, enjoys yoga, cycling, and multi cultural music. After living in Tel Aviv for the past 13 years , she is exited to move to the Arava region and return to the Institute as a staff member!
Campus Life Coordinator
Yair 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 moved to Kibbutz Ketura with his wife and 2 children in 2018, and is looking forward to his second year at the Arava Institute!
Shira was born in California and moved to a small village in the Lower Galillee as a child. She has traveled extensively in North/Central/South America and has lived in different communities with specialized agriculture, such as raising goats and and organic vegetable farming with an emphasis on sustainability and communal living.
She has worked in several youth programs, such as an addiction rehabilitation community in the North of Israel, and a youth summer camp in California.
Shira is a serious music lover and occasional DJ, believing that music transcends borders and is a powerful tool for connecting people from different cultures.
She studied at the Institute during the Fall 2019 semester of 2019 and is very excited to join the team as a Program Associate!
Kareem is from Zorga, Jordan. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental and Agricultural Engineering. He is an environmental activist and enjoys traveling, hiking, and horseback riding. He spent the last two semesters as a student at the Arava Institute and is full of expectations for another two semesters as a Program Associate.
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.