Not every college student can say that they are the founder of a successful business. Not every college student is able to commit to their academic work and dedicate hours to doing chesed. Not every college student is like Shachar Avraham, a junior at Binghamton University.
Shachar began his community outreach when he was a high schooler in NJ NCSY. An all-star NCSYer, he served as Chapter President, Regional President, and was a member of the National Board. Shachar attributes the beginning of his leadership skills to his experience in NCSY. For two consecutive years, Shachar’s Regional Board traveled to Buffalo, NY on a chesed mission. While in Buffalo, they ran sessions at the local Jewish school, visited with the elderly at a senior citizens’ residence, assisted in building a home with Habitat for Humanity, and spent Shabbat with the Buffalo NCSY chapter. Shachar’s communal chesed only blossomed from there.
This past semester, Shachar got involved with a charity called “Knock Knock Give A Sock,” founded by Adina Lichtman, a junior at NYU. After donating food and clothing to people who are homeless, Adina learned that an item that was most needed, but less-frequently donated, were socks. Knock Knock Give A Sock grew from there. Now on about twenty campuses nationwide, the campus representatives knock on dorm rooms asking for socks from college students to donate to people who are homeless. This is the first semester that the mission has expanded outside of NYU’s campus. Shachar says, “I took this as an opportunity to stay connected and get involved in the greater community.”
Shachar is also an advisor of the Junior NCSY chapter in Binghamton. Together, with his co-advisor, Mariah Stein, they have built the chapter from the bottom up. With more students than ever before, the chapter is thriving in the Binghamton community and continues to grow. When approached to be an advisor, Shachar jumped at the opportunity. He had always wanted to get involved with NCSY in college, and while striving toward more community involvement, he realized that by re-starting the Binghamton chapter, he had the perfect opportunity to make a difference.
As if all of the volunteer work Shachar is involved in wasn’t enough to keep him occupied, Shachar went even further to get involved in the community by starting his own business, Campus Pursuit. Campus Pursuit is a new and innovative advertising platform for any business seeking to reach the college market. “We run daily treasure hunts on college campuses. We call it ‘treasure hunt marketing’,” he says. Currently on four campuses, Shachar and his partner, Scott, hope to expand Campus Pursuit to eleven more campuses by the end of the year, and fifty campuses by the end of 2016. They advertise for local mom-and-pop shops as well as larger national brands including, Dormify, Zula (an Israeli start-up), Binghamton Graduate School, and Back to the Roots. With over 2,000 users, Shachar is optimistic that Campus Pursuit will thrive at each of the new universities and continue to help connect businesses with college students.
Throughout all of his involvement with JLIC at Binghamton, Knock Knock Give A Sock, Campus Pursuit, and others, Shachar always keeps NCSY close to his heart. He remembers Ebbing as one of his favorite NCSY memories. Perhaps the most impactful Ebbing was on JOLT in 2011 when Shachar’s entire trip did Ebbing in Krakow Square with many interested onlookers. JOLT made him realize, “We are such a small people, but we make such an impact.” And we can see this in Shachar as well. While he may only be one person, he is clearly making a large impact on all of the communities in which he is involved. Shachar says that the reason he is able to accomplish so much is based on personal motivation. “My saba (grandfather) always tells me that if you have the opportunity to do something, do it,” he says. While on his own pursuit of happiness, we can see that Shachar is making the world around him a little bit brighter.