Hi! My name is Eli Mars. I'm currently a rising sophomore studying Psychology in the College and Marketing in the Business School. I am heavily involved in Jewish life as I was just named Emory Hillel's Vice President for First Year Engagement. In addition to my heavy involvement with Hillel, I am involved in Greek Life, serve as a tour guide, and participate in clubs such as TableTalk and TEDxEmory. I am also involved in the music scene on campus and have performed at various arts events.
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What do you love about your school?
I think what sets Emory apart from other universities is the PEOPLE (the ultimate factor which led me to choose it). Emory is advanced and elite in its academics, and yet the academic environment is extremely collaborative. Within my immediate friend group, as well as the overall culture, there is a great balance of fun and focused studying, which was something I was nervous about heading into college. In addition, Atlanta is an amazing city (especially for job opportunities after graduation) to explore. I also love how Emory excels and specializes deeply in many disparate fields such as law, medicine, creative writing, business, and much, much more.
Why did you choose your school when you were a senior in high school? Walk us through that process.
I knew what types of schools I wanted to apply to based off size, academic programs, city, etc., so that part of my application process was not too difficult. Funny enough, Emory was the first school that I was accepted to, but being an indecisive person, I had to wait until all my options were on the table, so I could dwindle down the list from there. After a hectic college application season, I had narrowed down my list to Emory and another school in my city. I decided to take one last visit to Emory – by myself – in order to make a final decision (as the May 1 decision date was looming). I stayed with a friend from my summer camp (Camp Ramah in California) and took a "day in the life" with him. At all of the schools I had toured and visited, the information about academic life all seemed the same, so what made Emory stand out was the people. I realized on my visit that the types of people on Emory's campus resembled those friends I knew at summer camp (friends, who I would argue, are the best kinds of people out there). I instantly knew that Emory was the place for me because those were the people I wanted to surround myself with for the next four years and ultimately the rest of my life.
What has been your favorite class so far? Tell us about it!
I have two answers. First (fitting the Jewish theme) was my Hebrew 101 class. Every student at Emory must satisfy a language requirement, and because I am now a counselor at Camp Ramah, I wanted to improve my Hebrew level. I loved this class because I had the best professor who truly cared for me and my peers, so much so that we even had a class Shabbat on a random Friday night, and she came to celebrate with us. My second answer is my freshman seminar (a class every Emory freshman has to take, but class topics range throughout every Emory department). I took a psychology seminar about the science behind various study techniques. I loved the class because it was a great way to get myself settled before jumping directly into rigorous collegiate academics.
What fun traditions do you like to partake in at your school?
– Songfest: every freshman dorm rehearses a parody song and dance and performs it in front of the entire class. – Homecoming: every Emory club is represented and the school brings in really cool performers. – A local on-campus farmer's market occurring every Tuesday. – Wonderful Wednesday: essentially a club fair that happens at lunch every Wednesday filled with music and free food and goodies. – Coke Toast: Emory is heavily involved with Coke, so this toast is a symbolic event marking the start of a student's college journey. – Carter Town Hall: former President Jimmy Carter comes to Emory every year to talk with students and participate in the highly anticipated Q&A session.
Tell us about Jewish life on campus. How have you been able to engage with this aspect of your identity while at school?
The Jewish life at Emory is very strong. There are different groups (Hillel, Chabad, Meor) which all invite students to find their Jewish home. There are weekly Shabbat dinners and always opportunities to attend holiday services. As I mentioned, I am heavily involved with Hillel, and this community is extremely welcoming and tight-knit. In addition, there are many learning fellowships that students can engage in, as well as Emory's strong Jewish Studies program.
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'Georgia on My Mind' by Allen Stone
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