Amherst Hillel serves a number of roles on campus, roles as diverse as our own student body. We aim to enrich the lives of Jewish students and bolster meaningful, lasting connections with Jewish life and Israel. We work to foster a strong Jewish community on campus, one that welcomes Jews and non-Jews alike. We seek to educate and include the greater Amherst community in our celebrations of Jewish culture, Jewish faith and Jewish life.

Friendship, for most of my life, has been a word packed with conflicting emotions and unwelcome baggage. In second grade, as a quiet, slightly chubby and bookish kid, I didn’t have many friends. But things got much worse when I moved to the city and began elementary school all over again. Making friends admittedly takes time, but months passed and I hadn’t a single friend. I was designated the “uncool” kid of my new second grade class.

Now that spring has finally arrived and it’s possible to travel beyond campus bounds without risking frostbite, perhaps a trip to Smith College to see their production of “Water by the Spoonful” could be added to your spring itinerary. Written by Quiara Alegria Hudes, “Water by the Spoonful” premiered in October of 2011 at the Hartford Stage Company and won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 2012. Smith College Department of Theater’s adaptation of the play, directed by J. Mehr Kaur, adds an extra dimension to the original version, emphasizing the power of connectivity.

Think of any college movie you’ve ever seen. Buying into the classic collegiate stereotypes, the protagonists probably get drunk at a big football game, cheer for their mascot at the track meet or attend an underground a capella battle. Before stepping on campus, most future Amherst students probably imagined they would frequently support their classmates, neighbors and close friends at events, performances or sports games. They most likely imagined they’d spend their weekends wrapping themselves in purple apparel and screaming “Go Amherst!” until their voices turned hoarse.

The first episode of the HBO series “The Jinx”, which investigates the unnerving life of multi-murder suspect and New York real estate heir Robert Durst, feels like a cheesy “Law & Order” episode. An innocent civilian embarks on a stroll by the bay and notices many mysterious trash bags floating on top of the water. The police arrive and discover that the bags hold four dismembered limbs and a headless torso. There is no head to be found.

Over the last few years, I have been no stranger to the culture of sexual assault on college campuses. But watching “The Hunting Ground,” a new documentary by Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering ’84, makers of “The Invisible War,” even I was surprised and sickened by the horrifying assaults suffered by so many students and, perhaps more so, by the way in which survivors were treated by their colleges and by the media.

The Common, a literary magazine based at Amherst, released its ninth issue this week. The Common is devoted to a “modern sense of place,” a happily broad mission that I suspect all of us can in some sense relate to. As young adults at Amherst, we’re all away from home in an environment that’s devoted to encouraging each of us to find our own sense of place both here and beyond our college years. These early adult years are no more than an eddy in a tide pool, a brief disturbance of the wider waters of life.