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A university with a conscience, BGU invests heavily in the community for the future of the region and Israel. 




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Community Outreach

Since its inception, one of the University's primary goals has been to establish a more value-oriented, equitable social environment for residents of the Negev, a great many of whom are underprivileged. Many are immigrants from the former Soviet Union, Ethiopia, India, and other countries.

Students and faculty are often found outside the university campuses making significant contributions to many of the surrounding communities and villages. Through the University's Community Action Unit and other social service programs, more than 40 percent of the student body volunteers in the heart of disadvantaged neighborhoods.

Community Action Unit

View a movie about A Community of Caring.

The Open Apartments Program operates 65 apartments in poor Beer-Sheva neighborhoods. Participating students reside free-of-charge in exchange for organizing activities for children, teenagers and adults, including homework and computer clubs, literacy, health, drama, sports, and holiday programs, as well as summer camps and community centers.

The Leadership Training Program prepares outstanding students from underprivileged communities to be involved citizens through leadership training courses, skills workshops and hands-on volunteer programs. Students are required to create and engage in new volunteer opportunities. One such project is Meitar (Strings) that encourages youth to learn musical instruments.

The Newstart Program offers adults the opportunity to complete their high school education. The program has helped break the cycle of poverty for more than 2,000 people.

Sparks of Science provides academic enrichment courses to youth of Ethiopian origin, and encourages them to excel in the natural sciences.

The Barvaz Theater Group is an innovative drama enrichment program comprised of teenagers who actively develop original plays that confront issues in their daily lives, such as drugs, splintered families, delinquency, and more. They perform in high schools throughout the Negev region.

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This nationwide tutoring and mentoring program pairs university students with underprivileged children and youth in exchange for scholarship assistance. One-on-one tutorials are given four hours per week to 3rd through 12th graders.

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Robert H. Arnow Center for Bedouin Studies and Development

More than 160,000 Bedouins live in the Negev, the vast majority in impoverished, third-world like surroundings. BGU knows that education is a key solution to social and economic advancement, as well as integration into Israeli society.

The Arnow Center runs special academic programs for Bedouin high school students, enabling them to meet university acceptance requirements. The Center also provides tuition support, tutoring and counseling. As a result, hundreds of Bedouin students have graduated from BGU with advanced degrees, including the first Bedouin women to become a physician, a pharmacist and a Ph.D.

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University Center for External Studies

The Center for External Studies strengthens the ties between the University and the general public by providing programs led by BGU faculty for children and adults that enrich the intellectual, cultural and professional life of the community, including continuing adult education courses and youth enrichment classes.

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Ilan Ramon Youth Physics Center

This state-of-the-art facility serves 10,000 local high school students and includes physics and computer labs and a planetarium with a roof-top observatory. In combination with Madarom (Science in the South), the Center aims to strengthen students' love of science and attract visitors from around the world.

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Kidumatica – Youth Mathematics Forum

This after-school mathematics club nurtures mathematically talented middle and high school students throughout the Negev. They are mostly children from underprivileged homes who often do not get the tools they need to succeed. More than half of all the prizes in Israeli mathematic competitions are awarded to Kidumatica members, despite the fact that the Negev student's scholastic achievement is generally lower than the national standard. 

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Canine Companions

Before 1986, all guide dogs were trained in English. Thanks to Israel's Guide Dog Center, 50 to 60 specially-bred "Hebrew-speaking" guide dogs graduate each year, and approximately 25 begin their lives at Ben-Gurion University. The dogs need to be socialized before embarking on lives of service. Among Israel's universities, BGU is the only one collaborating with this organization to provide student foster parents for these special puppies during the first year of their lives.

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