Throughout the past decade, I’ve worked with a variety of MSAs (Muslim Student Associations) in different capacities. My first days as a Muslim were spent as an undergraduate, stumbling through leadership positions in my first MSA and largely failing to bring about good programming or developing a cohesive community.
After graduating and working with other Muslim organizations, I shared what lessons I was learning with my former MSA and acted as an advisor for many years before transitioning to a paid position as the Muslim Life Coordinator at different private university. Now, I serve as the president of yet another MSA in the West, though with a much different skill set than my first time around!
From my experience, no two MSAs – whether at a university, college, high school any other educational institution — are the same. They differ in size and demographics, operate in different institutional contexts, and are incorporated into local Muslim communities to differing extents. However, working with different MSAs and with Muslim organizations more broadly, requires attention to similar elements. Below are my reflections on seven important things that can make or break an MSA.