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Part of the college experience is keeping up with the swirling pool of clubs and student-led associations that endlessly start up and disappear. Remember freshman year, when you signed up for every single one you thought was remotely cool? When it comes to offering a culturally diverse range of clubs and programs, however, Emmanuel College falls short.
Yet recently, the Muslim Student Association (or MSA for short) has just been recognized as a club by the SGA. The MSA holds the goal of developing cultural and religious awareness for Muslims and non-Muslims alike. Emmanuel, like several other colleges and universities across the United States, is taking a progressive step in cultural representation.
Last year, Alpha Lambda Mu, the first social Muslim fraternity in the country, was created at the University of Texas at Dallas by student Ali Mahmoud. In less than a year’s time, the fraternity has expanded; there are chapters at Cornell University and University of California San Diego.
The student responsible for the forming the Muslim Student Association at Emmanuel is Muhammad Maan Alawa ’17. “I always wanted to make an impact on campus, and what better way than to represent my religion through a club?” he says.
Claiming he was “a little bit hesitant at first,” Alawa received support from over 50 Emmanuel students and was motivated to follow through with his plans for the MSA. Aware that there isn’t a strong Muslim population on campus, Alawa wanted to not only to create a social environment for his religious community, but to welcome others to learn about it.
“The MSA plans on hosting events such as dinners to help raise awareness on Islam and Arab culture” explained Alawa.
The new club, he believes, will allow many more incoming students to find their own niche. “Having an MSA in Emmanuel College will allow for more potential students to attend the college, because I first-hand experienced that when applying to colleges, I took note of the diversity of the clubs.” The club is still fresh out of the gates, but has great potential for growth in the next few years.
Seth Garcia is a Staff writer for The Hub.