#WaveCrushWednesday: Lipaz Avigal

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Lipaz Avigal Wave Crush

Our first ~ever~ #wavecrushwednesday Lipaz Avigal is a sophomore from Haifa, Israel. She is a political economy major, a member of Project Raintree, and a founder of CACTUS Academy: A Social Justice Leadership Development Program. She is the Views section’s Wave Crush this week because of the amazing work she has done, both through Tulane and on her own initiative.

What organizations are you a part of at Tulane?

So one of the organizations I’m a part of that I think means the most or is the most fun to me is Project Raintree which is a Community Action Council for Tulane University Students organization and basically along with four other girls we go to a home of displaced women, mostly girls between the ages of 12-18. Basically they have been displaced from their homes. They are all high schoolers, they have been removed from their homes, moving around, moving between foster homes and that’s a place in-between. We go every week and we just hang around, do some fun mindless things like watching movies and talking about their days and sometimes we talk about things like healthy communication behavior and how to take care of yourself and safe sex. Those are some of the things they don’t have the parental guidance for or the education at schools at times so that’s been really interesting and I joined it my freshmen year and that’s been one of my favorite involvements I think. And we are actually starting– it was an initiative with other students, but they dropped which sucks cause it was fun to do it with them– we started this freshmen leadership organization, its like a social justice leadership organization. Its also through CACTUS and the idea is as a freshmen you get to Tulane and its like “oh there’s so many cool organizations and so many cool things to do but there’s also like a thousand of them and I don’t know which to join or where to go” so basically there are around 6 sessions and we bring different speakers from New Orleans communities or within Tulane, like Community Engagement Activists and expose them. Every single session is a different topic, one is about gender and women rights, and one is immigration. We want to expose them to more Tulane organizations and more New Orleans organizations, so basically where they can be involved in regard to their interests. So that’s something that hasn’t started yet, but I’m super excited for it.

What were you working on this summer, and where did you get your research grant?

We actually got the grant through the Honors Program. It’s the “Dean Jean” Dean’s Grant and if you ever want to do a project that doesn’t have that many limitations and grants you the flexibility of doing the things you want to do, that’s the place to go. And yeah, they basically gave us this grant, me and Giulia to go around western Europe to different countries and research different aspects of the refugee crisis in Europe. It was mostly interviewing NGO’s, startup organizations, some politicians although that was much harder to get in touch with, but in berlin we did interview some, just people- and refugees themselves- just people who are involved with providing some type of relief to the whole situation, and some of them are governmental programs, some of them are civil society startups and initiatives, but yeah it was such an opportunity, and I’m really thankful to Tulane for allowing us to do it cause I never would be able to otherwise. It was super interesting and I really learned a lot and I’m stuck with 40 pages of interviews on my computer and I don’t know what to do with them just yet but it was a really unique experience I think. 

Do you have anything you’d like to say to the Tulane community as a whole after your experience?

I guess just to really enjoy your time here but to take advantage of all the things being offered cause this school is so resourceful in like the truest sense. And it has a lot of cool people trying to get stuff going, make stuff better on campus and off campus. So I guess just finding those niches that are good for you but also where you can pursue things that you are interested in.