The ongoing rise in antisemitic incidents on college campuses has surprised many people, especially those who believed this is a thing of the past.
According to the Wall Street Journal, antisemitic acts are increasing across the country, with the rate of incidents on college campuses rising at an alarming rate. In 2021, there were 155 incidents reported on college campuses, a sizeable jump from the 47 noted in 2014 when the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) first began tracking.
The news alarmed many people including Amy Lavin, associate professor of management information systems, and Sheri Lambert, associate professor of marketing. The two connected with Jen Berman, MS ’21, brand director at Hillel International, the world’s largest Jewish campus organization, and a then-graduate student at the Fox School.
Inspired to take action, the women worked together to create the teaching case study #OwnYourStar: Together We Can Counter Rising Antisemitism. The case is based on the work Berman was doing with Hillel.
In the fall of 2021, Berman helped launch Hillel’s #OwnYourStar campaign to encourage college students to showcase their Jewish pride by sharing photos of themselves wearing their Star of David or other symbols of Jewish pride—whether on clothing, jewelry or anything meaningful and true to them.
“#OwnYourStar is an empowerment campaign to help students feel less scared,” Berman says. “Over the last several years, there has been a very stark and scary increase in antisemitism very broadly, across the world, and in the United States, specifically on college and university campuses.”
Using digital channels most frequented by college students, Hillel shared the campaign widely. In the first week, more than 1,000 Jewish college students, Jewish community members, and non-Jewish allies shared pictures and videos as part of the campaign, according to Hillel International.
While the campaign was under way, Berman was also wrapping up her final semester at the Fox School where she was pursuing her master’s degree in digital innovation in marketing. It was through the program that Berman became connected with Lavin and Lambert.
The campaign’s goal is to provide college students a safe and empowering online space—and very tangible, accessible ways to show up as their true selves, and feel pride in their community too.
“This case considers how diversity, equity and inclusion can affect people not just in a business place, but also on a college campus,” Lavin says. “I think it is important to include real-world scenarios—such as working toward reducing rates of antisemitism- during students' business education—because it not only teaches them more about marketing campaigns, but also about other people's cultures that they may interact with during their time on campus.”
The #OwnYourStar case, which is available through Ivey Publishing, can be taught in marketing classes, as well as specialty courses that cover diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) marketing communications, digital marketing and integrated marketing. The case study will also be an effective way to illustrate the growing need for inclusion of religious and cultural beliefs in DEI position statements.