One of the local programs CUJF supports is Chambana Schmooze. I've asked Danielle Baron of Illini Hillel to describe the program:
What Is Chambana Schmooze?
My name is Danielle, and I am the Illini Hillel Engagement Associate. I moved to Champaign during July 2018 for my job at Illini Hillel. As a young professional in the Chambana area, I have always been eager to attend/participate in gatherings targeted towards graduate students and young professionals. In November 2019, I met with a few graduate students that were also passionate about attending gatherings geared towards their age group. After a few meetings, we decided to plan our first event and call it Chambana Schmooze. Our goal with our Chambana Schmooze events was to create a space where graduate students and young professionals can meet up in a relaxed setting to socialize and relax.
During December 2019, we held our first Chambana Schmooze event at a restaurant in downtown Champaign called Seven Saints. This first event had 12 graduate students and young professionals in attendance. Since then, I have formed a small committee, and we have been planning monthly Chambana Schmooze events for this community.
Our monthly events hold an attendance of about 5-15 people. Even after COVID hit, we were still able to maintain our attendance of 5-15 people with monthly Schmooze Over Zoom gatherings. While planning and promoting our Schmooze events, I have been able to grow our relationship with the CUJF (Champaign-Urbana Jewish Federation) along with the Veterinarian graduate school program. I am also currently reaching out to other graduate student programs to start or grow our relationship with them, too.
This past August, we had our first in-person Schmooze event since the start of the pandemic. This event was called Drinks on the Deck which entailed drinks and snacks on the upstairs deck of Illini Hillel. In September, we had our first off-campus Chambana Schmooze event of the school year at a Sports Bar called Pia’s. Our October event was held at the Esquire Lounge in downtown Champaign.
I am very proud to be able to provide this community for our graduate students and young professionals, and I am looking forward to expanding our web to continuing to grow our group throughout the next year.
To sign up to get emails about our monthly Chambana Schmooze events, go to our Interest Poll.
The next Chambana Schmooze event will take place on Tuesday, November 17th at 8pm at Bunny's Tavern in downtown Urbana.