While most students are nestled warm in their beds, six UF students are spending their nights in huts under the stars.

Representatives from six UF organizations have committed to sleep in a "sukkah" for three nights outside of UF Hillel as part of the Sukkot Survivor program, which began Sunday and will end Wednesday.

A sukkah is a hut with only one open side and a roof made of palm fronds so participants can see the stars.

The group of representatives will spend the duration of the three days, when they are not in class or at work, in a sukkah on the Plaza of the Americas, said Joshua Ludin, Sukkot Survivor director.

Each competitor will participate in an Adopt-A-Road cleanup of a Jewish Student Union-adopted road, a painting competition on the 34th Street Wall and social events at night. The contestants participated in a field day Sunday and a canned food drive Monday, he said.

Participants include representatives from the Black Student Union, Hispanic Student Association, Asian American Student Union, Islam on Campus, Jewish Student Union and Kesher.

The organizations will receive points depending on how many members of their organization come to support them at each of the events, how many cans the members of each organization donate and how successful the representative from each organization is in each of the events, Ludin said.

The purpose of Sukkot Survivor is to teach people about the Jewish holiday of Sukkot and to foster cooperation between the different organizations on campus through a friendly competition, Ludin said. The program ties into the Jewish holiday of Sukkot because contestants are following the Jewish tradition of eating and sleeping in a sukkah and learning about the holiday from a rabbi, he said.

Sukkot commemorates when the Jews left Egypt during the Exodus. They had to live in sukkahs during their journey through the desert.

Sukkot Survivor is making a comeback after a three-year hiatus, Ludin said. The president of the Jewish Student Union wanted to revive the program, and Ludin was put in charge of taking the basic ideas of the Sukkot Survivor events of the past and building a new program.

"Hopefully this will be great networking and marketing for all of the organizations," he said. "I think it has potential to be one of the bigger programs of the fall."

Megan Vu, external vice president for the Asian American Student Union, said she believes the Sukkot Survivor program will help Gainesville with its charitable activities.

The event will also aid the participating organizations, she added.

"It is raising visibility for each of the organizations on campus, awareness for the Jewish Student Union and the Jewish population on campus," she said. "I had never heard of Sukkot before, so it is kind of educational as well."

A team of representatives from the Hispanic Student Association, Black Student Union and Kesher won the field day event on Sunday night. The winner of the canned food drive will be announced during the closing ceremony Wednesday.

(1) comment

yoni katz

[smile] Year, this program was also held at the university again :)

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