Illinois Tech’s Muslim Students Association (MSA) held its first general body meeting on Wednesday, August 29, 2018. At the meeting, they connected with new first years, introduced the MSA shura (executive board), and talked about upcoming events. Illinois Tech MSA is the student organization that maintains the mosque in Farr Hall, near MSV, among many other things.
One key upcoming event is the Islamic Awareness Week that MSA holds every year at Illinois Tech. This week is full of events that let students on campus learn about and see the very visible presence of Muslim students on campus. Often, MSA also includes charity events in this week; in past years, MSA has done a pie in the face event, in which members could buy shaving cream pies to smack into shura members or their friends (with consent) and send all proceeds to a charity that the MSA chose to sponsor. In 2016, MSA held a care packages event in which they collected donations and items from the student body and created care packages for the homeless and needy. These packages included basic hygiene items like pads, toothbrushes, tissues, shampoo, as well as things like socks, gloves, and other amenities. These packages were given to the charity Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) Relief and distributed during a convention in Baltimore, Maryland to homeless people on the streets.
Islamic Awareness Week (IAW) is also a great way for Muslim students to connect with their peers, and alleviate any Islamophobia that is generated by ignorance, or by the current political climate. When students are able to meet and talk to a Muslim, they are also able to understand the differences and true underlying beliefs that they might not have known.
Illinois Tech is an amazing international campus; we have students from around the world in every major, in every building. Through initiatives like IAW and through student organizations like MSA, our students are able to see this awesome diversity on a regular basis. We can explore the world by meeting new people, understanding new cultures, and gaining a perspective that is key to being educated members of our global society.