Assalamu Alaikum Dear Brothers and Sisters,
The MSA National Board completed its freshman year. We received positive responses for our “Fall Report Card”, which encouraged the Board to layout ambitious plans for the winter semester. While we believe we delivered on our promises, the only grade that matters is those we serve – students and their families. For this reason, we want your feedback. Your input will help us continually improve.
The winter semester started tragically with the February 10, 2015 murders of our beloved Deah Barakat and Yusor Abu-Salha and Raza Abou-Salha (may Allah have mercy on them). The incident served as a shock, threat and challenge to U.S. Muslims, particularly college students. MSA National jumped into action and:
• Issued a Campus Safety Guide and Action Plan for all MSAs
• Coordinated with a network of national activists to handle a range of community responses (e.g. fundraising drives, community service activities)
• Scheduled multiple television interviews (e.g. MSNBC) with leading Muslim college voices
• Worked with the Department of Homeland Security to raise awareness of any campus issues and incidents
• Coordinated with local and regional MSA groups for programming and planning
Despite the tragedy, MSA National doubled its efforts by also pushing forward with other commitments:
• Recently established the National Student Congress, which is a national body with one student representative from each regional MSA council that meets monthly to discuss key campus matters. Currently, there are seven regional bodies with a plan to expand to 15 in the near-term
• Finalized MSA National’s committees with the leadership in-place and moving forward. The committees include: Chapter Development, Professional Development, Education, Chaplaincy, Regional Development, Media, Interfaith, Graphic Design, and Journalism. Please let us know if you are interested in participating.
• A new website that serves as a one-stop shop for Muslim college student informational needs
• Held a five day national leadership retreat with 40 student leaders from across the US representing about 30 colleges from all over the US and Canada. Participants developed strong personal bonds through great social experiences and engaging discussions. There were many great speakers including Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson, who discussed Islamophobia and Countering Violent Extremism, Dalia Mogahed, who discussed leadership training, Corey Sailor of CAIR who discussed countering Islamaphobia, and many others.
• Facilitated three zonal conferences (Detroit, Washington DC and Boston). Over 400 participants were able to hear from great speakers including Ubaydullah Evans, Dalia Mogahed, Altaf Hussain and more
• Worked with ISNA to host a regional MSA conference in Houston
• Partnered with ISPU to provide support and research for a Muslim youth-focused research publication (http://www.ispu.org/content/State_of_American_Muslim_Youth)
• Managing the MSA scholarship program with student awards on behalf of Naziruddin Ali and Ilyas Ba-Yunus
• Launched our pilot program of the Campus Address- a bi-weekly halaqa geared towards campus issues.
• Key partnerships will be announced to offer: i) professional development services to MSA students and ii) MSA campus programming funds on a match-basis
• Internship opportunities offered to college students to earn academic credit
• An exciting MSA National’s convention in Chicago from September 4 – 6
• Season 1 of the Campus Address
There is much more in process and we look sharing important updates soon inshAllah. In the meantime, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or message us through http://msanational.org/contact/ with any feedback.
The community has stated clearly that investing in the youth is a large and critical opportunity with tremendous potential. To maintain and accelerate the momentum, this must be a community endeavor. Please consider making a donation to the MSA National, which is a 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization through http://msanational.org/donate/.
Finally, please pray for the MSA’s growth, success and commitment to serving the community.
Chairman, MSA National