Cheerful greetings and heartfelt messages of support handwritten on bits of colorful paper add a festive air to the small office of the Muslim Student Association at CU Boulder.
Located in the University Memorial Center, the MSA is a cultural, social, educational and community service space open to all CU Boulder students and community members. MSA provides a space for Muslim students on campus and serves the larger community through activities.
Its mission is to represent Muslim community on campus by reaching out to students; developing friendships and forging bonds with other communities and organizations; and dispelling possible misconceptions about Muslim culture and faith.
“We try to be a very open organization for students to come and pray or study,” said co-president of the student organization, Heraa Hashmi. “And we really want to reach out to the community. We want people to ask questions. Don’t be shy. If you have a question, but you don’t ask, you miss out on an opportunity to learn.”
There are 17 active members and a dozen others who help out with MSA-sponsored events, which focus on education, recreation and community service. Events are open to the public. MSA hosts discussions, guest speakers and monthly coffee hours—an informal social event with food from different countries for people to stop by and talk to members.
The MSA holds numerous events every semester that includes socials, to volunteering opportunities, speaker events and interfaith dialogue.
Last year, MSA held an enlightening panel discussion on the topic of women in Islam. Panelists talked about the challenges Muslim women face.
Social events include a variety of activities for, such as team building exercises and informal hikes and visits to local high schools from MSA members and other CU organizations.
“A huge part of our faith is giving back to the community,” Hashmi said. “Last year we helped build houses for Habitat for Humanity. Every year we have a fundraiser that benefits Syrian refugees. We try to do things to give back to the CU community and the larger Boulder community.”