By Kaitlyn Hopkins
The National Hillel Basketball Tournament held its second meeting of the semester Dec. 6 at Hillel with plans to make the event more exciting and expansive than recent years.
“The National Hillel Basketball Tournament is the largest Jewish Collegiate Student Run event in the nation,” said junior nutritional science major David Stein, one of the tournament’s new co-chairs.
The NHBT was founded in 2010 by student Rachel Epstein as a way to “help bring students together around the inclusive and encompassing game of basketball.” Teams from campus Hillels across the country travel to this university when the tournament is held sometime during the spring semester.
This year’s tournament will be from April 19-22, and the board hopes it to be its best tournament yet.
“Our motto is ‘Bigger and Better than Ever Before’, so we just want to expand our fanbase, we want to expand our players, we want to expand,” sophomore psychology major Arianne Mazel said, who is also Director of Personnel on the board. “This year we’re trying to make the tournament as big as possible.”
Additionally, the tournament will be held at the Xfinity Center for the second year in a row, a big expansion for the team who previously held the tournament in the Ritchie Coliseum and Reckord Armory.
“Last year we were in Xfinity center, this year we’re looking to do other things to make the tournament unique and this year unique, but every year we look to just grow,” Stein said. “We’re always satisfied with our accomplishments, but we know that’s not the limit and there’s always a higher limit and a higher bar we set for next year.”
The tournament has also greatly monetarily expanded since its start in 2010.
“This is the eighth year of the tournament,” Stein said. “We started off with a small budget of under $25,000 and we’ve grown to have a budget of over $125,000. We had 15-20 teams and now we’re at 55-plus teams from 45 different schools from across the country, and we’re looking to even get bigger than that.”
At their second meeting, the board discussed updates for the coming year, the registration process for the event and the board’s plan for Winter Fest, a festive event on Dec. 11 thrown by Hillel to bring this university’s entire Jewish community together.
“We just opened registration a few weeks ago, so we’ll be going through a run through for all the non-campus recruitment members who work in registration so everyone else knows basically what’s going on, what the rules are – so we’re going through the entire tournament rules list– and registration,” Stein said. “This way, if someone contacts a board member, “How do I register?” they’ll be able to answer those questions as well.”
The board also discussed its plan for Winterfest, where many Hillel student groups set up tables with activities for other students.
“I’m excited for the tournament this year,” Julia Hurwit said, a junior marketing and management major. “I went freshman year and thought it was really cool.”
Students can go to the NHBT website for more information about the event or contact the board by their email firstname.lastname@example.org.