In A Nutshell
University backing for the trip can provide access to students, meeting rooms, and a public forum for getting the word out.
At many schools, student-led trips to Israel are sponsored by officially recognized student clubs (like an Israel Club) but that is not essential. Sometimes an official connection with a club can bring with it unnecessary bureaucracy.
In all cases, the university needs to be informed about the trip once planning is underway. This should be done in a meeting between the trip leader and the office of the Dean of Students.
Though the university itself does not sponsor or fund a trip and should never be allowed to influence the itinerary or program content, it can provide a range of support essential to a successful trip. For example:
- Provide access to mailing lists of students
- Provide platforms for marketing the trip; for example message boards, bulletin boards, copying facilities, and meeting rooms
- Identify and facilitate contact with speakers to talk to participants before the trip and in Israel
- Leverage existing partnerships with institutions in Israel and the US
- Determine whether existing student health services medical plans are applicable for international travel, and if not provide information about how student plans can be augmented for the trip
- Clubs and institutes and other kinds of centers within the university may provide grants and financial support
- Recommendations about speakers and activities
CAVEAT: Do not to brand the trip with the university logo if the university has not officially sanctioned the trip.