By Chase Flagel, UGA '25
The beginning of JBiz UGA traces back to a Shabbaton I participated in February 2023 in Toccoa Hills. On this experience, most of the other students were from Emory. When the Emory students introduced themselves at our first event of the weekend, they all distinguished themselves as JBiz, JStem, or JLaw. My unsure response when it became my turn, a simple "JBiz," set the stage for an exploration that unfolded throughout the Shabbaton. Through conversations with the Emory Meor Rabbi, Rabbi Yaakov Fleshel, who helped explain the mission of JBiz at Emory, I found myself increasingly drawn to the prospect of bringing this initiative to UGA if possible.
Post-Shabbaton, the realization really struck that UGA lacked a dedicated club for Jewish students interested in pursuing business careers. Conversations with Jeremy Lichtig, the Director of HillelUGA, and teaming up with my close friend Brooke Green to be co-president and co-founder, solidified the vision for JBiz UGA. Planning sessions throughout Spring 2023 and Summer 2023 (while we were both on Birthright Onward) culminated in the formation of JBiz UGA in Fall 2023, complete with a well-structured constitution and a diverse board that mirrored the various facets of UGA's Jewish community.
Presently, JBiz UGA stands as a thriving community at UGA. The Orkin Hillel Center has become the heart of our club, hosting several successful meetings that drew in 165 members representing all four years of UGA. Free meals and enticing incentives, such as networking events, have fueled engagement across the diverse spectrum of the Jewish community. Beyond numerical achievements, JBiz UGA has emerged as a unifying force, especially in response to the October 7th attacks. Community gatherings have underscored JBiz UGA's role in fostering solidarity and a sense of belonging.
Looking ahead, JBiz UGA envisions a future marked by continuous growth and impact. Aspirations for prominent speakers and initiatives like mentorship programs highlight our commitment to enhancing the professional and communal experiences of our members. Personally, JBiz UGA feels like a fulfilling journey, from conceptualization to tangible reality. Even as I prepare for a semester abroad in Spring 2024, I am confident in the capable hands of the current board to carry forward JBiz UGA's legacy. JBiz UGA, at its core, signifies a harmonious blend of professionalism and community, and I take pride in the part played in its establishment and ongoing success at UGA.