State of AAUSY, by AAUSY president Jacob Laves

Every morning when I leave my room I pass a gavel hanging on my wall that reads “AAUSY President’s Gavel”. Every morning when I check my phone’s calendar I see a schedule packed with AAUSY events, and every morning I am more confident than the day before that AAUSY is a strong thriving chapter. This has never been more true than right now, heading into the 2016 spring semester.

It’s taken a lot of effort, but AAUSY is doing fantastic. Between five groundbreaking monthly Shabbat dinners, a “drive-in” movie night, a doughnut filled Freshman Kidnapping, a Game Show night, a trip to the Trail of Lights, and a Limo Scavenger Hunt we’ve done some incredible things so far. Along the way we’ve managed to already raise a personal record breaking amount of money specifically for the regional Tikun Olam fund, contribute the most hours to SWUSY’s Community Service Hours Competition, and keep our SA/TO Sunday project going with new spotlights and focuses. We’ve made inroads into social media with our new Instagram (followed by official USY instagram and the new international president) and Twitter accounts, and we have a fully functioning website to centralize all of our information. We’re sending the largest delegation to Spring Kallah, but we’re as tight knit a family as there ever was.

None of this would be possible without the Chapter Executive Board and the Advisor team. They’ve all made a commitment to help run a chapter with high expectations, but none of them are content to simply meet these high expectations. That’s not what AAUSY is about. This team set out at the beginning of the year to break the mold, to set new standards, and that’s exactly what they’ve done. The chapter is in its best shape in years, thanks to their continual hard work.

We’re not done though. We don’t have time to take a break, time isn’t a luxury we have. A chapter is never finished, and AAUSY isn’t the exception. We’re gearing up to take on this new semester with even more energy than the last, with new events and exciting programs. We just kicked off our new weekly lounge nights, a place for everybody to come and relax and work on homework in a USY setting. We’re jointly hosting an overnight with SAUSY, and then the next day we’re going to be competing in a chili cookoff. Our calendar is already set, and is jam packed and filled to the brim with excitement and fun.

Of course, none of these events would mean anything if it wasn’t for the amazing people that came to them. AAUSY is more than just a chapter, it’s a family. I’ve had the incredible privilege of being chapter president, and it is one of the most rewarding tasks I’ve had. I’m not president for the gavel, I’m not president for the title, I’m president because I love AAUSY. My chapter makes me laugh, my chapter makes me think. My chapter makes me question my sanity, and it (sometimes forcibly) encourages me to expand my music taste.

Running a chapter isn’t easy, but every ounce of effort is worth it when I see people smiling and having a great time. Chapter events may seem small compared to the grandiose regional conventions, but they’re where the magic of USY comes from. The chapter level is where all the one-liners and inside jokes start, they’re where you learn about the weird obscure sport someone plays, they’re where that one story about how insane people are comes from. Without chapters, SWUSY is just a few scattered events throughout the year, and is empty the rest of the time.

AAUSY is doing fantastic. AAUSY is making memories. AAUSY is my family, it’s my home, and I know no matter what happens AAUSY will have my back. That’s why I have KangaJew as my phone’s background, that’s why I put in so much effort to keep it going, and that’s why I love USY. I can’t imagine myself in any other chapter anywhere in the world.