This weekend's West Coast Intercollegiate Shabbaton is expected to bring more than 500 students from 20 schools throughout the western United States to the University of California at S. Barbara for an inspiring three-day gathering beginning with the observance of Shabbat and ending with a day of outdoor activities.

Hosted by Chabad-Lubavitch at UCSB this year, the annual Shabbaton has always won accolades from the students with its combination of Jewish learning, a grand Shabbat banquet, workshops and networking opportunities. Expected to be the largest such gathering since its inception five years ago as well as the biggest Shabbat celebration in the university's history, the Feb. 8-10 event will allow students to enjoy a beachside Havadalah service marking the close of Shabbat, as well as sailing on Sunday.

Students at the Isla Vista, Calif., school are providing the visitors with rooms.

"This will be my second year going to the Shabbaton," said UCSB student Danielle Zimmerman. "Hosting the Shabbaton, and seeing so many Jewish students in Isla Vista at UCSB makes me proud of my Judaism, my Chabad House and my campus."

This year's Shabbaton will specifically focus on Israel activism and Jewish pride through discussions, workshops and a keynote lecture by radio talk show host Dennis Prager. In addition, students will be able to meet with campus-based Israel advocates and the Jewish student leaderships of Stanford University, the University of California at Berkeley, the University of Southern California, the University of California at Los Angeles, and many more.

"The exchange of ideas and renewed excitement are expected to drastically change the level of Jewish and Israel activity on campus," asserted Rochel Loschak, co-director with her husband, Rabbi Mendel Loschak, of the UCSB Chabad House.

"Maybe most important of all, though, is engendering within our students the sense of being part of something larger, something that reaches beyond the limited number of students they eat with on any given Friday night," continued Loschak. "Participating in a Shabbat dinner for 500, recognizing the reach of Chabad on Campus throughout the West Coast, and realizing that countless friends and acquaintances are also being engaged and empowered, is the single most powerful assistance we can provide for the Jewish student on campus today."

Besides Stanford, Berkeley, USC and UCLA, other confirmed schools that are sending delegations include Arizona State University, S. Diego State University, the University of California at Davis, the University of California at S. Diego, the University of Nevada at Las Vegas, California State University-Chico, S. Monica College, California State University-Northridge, the University of Arizona, the University of California at S. Cruz, and California State University-Channel Islands.