UNC Muslim Student Association Celebrates First MET Event

As the Muslim Student Association completed final preparations for the Muslims Excel Today event on March 25, the Student Union hall was buzzing with activity.

Attendees, dressed in black tie attire, walked down a red carpet as cameras flashed. Dozens of tables were adorned with crockery. Ornate silver centerpieces were set up near the stage.

The participants chatted among themselves around the tables, visiting the photo booth while waiting for the start of the program.

The event aimed to showcase Muslim excellence by showcasing the achievements of students and alumni, detailing the ways the community has excelled over the past year. In addition, the Muslim Students Association presented the board of directors that will take office next year.

MSA Vice President Dalal Azzam said the event was the first of its kind.

“We are focused on current MSA members, alumni and also expanding Muslim excellence – not only in the UNC community but also beyond,” Azzam said.

After detailing some of the MSA’s accomplishments and events over the past year, such as their weekly Quran reading nights, the executive members introduced keynote speakers Lena Sarsour and Akram Abdallah, who co-founded the society of Nominal jewelry in 2018.

Sarsour and Abdallah co-founded the company as a way connect with their cultural identity. Nominal customers can buy jewelry with Arabic inscriptions or minimalist designs.

During their speech, Sarsour shared how they could see people sharing who they were “without saying a word.”

“They show the pieces they chose and why it resonated with them,” she said during her speech. “It has been one of the most rewarding aspects of our business.”

They also shared how they hope Nominal can be used to empower their three-month-old daughter.

“Nominal is our love letter to our daughter,” Sarsour added. “We hope she will always be proud of who she is.”

Participants received a free necklace from Nominal.

After the speech, the participants were invited to dinner and evening prayer.

MSA leaders have highlighted the achievements of community members through alumni and students, such as Merve Rida Bayraktar, who founded Pink Stream, an organization that creates educational works to empower young women in STREAM (Science, technology, robotics, engineering, arts and mathematics).

“We provide young girls with STEM exposure at a young age so that they have the confidence and passion to advance in these fields,” she said during her speech.

The event then concluded with the presentation of the new MSA Board of Trustees for the 2022-2023 academic year.

Former MSA Outreach Chairman Osamah Atieh said the MET was an important social and community event.

“A lot of people like to dress up – they like to spend social time with their friends – but it’s also really important for us to raise these students who are trying to get exposure, and also to network,” Atieh said in an interview. with DTH.

Azzam said coordinating the MET event was especially special for MSA members this year.

“Just because you recognize a community doesn’t mean you necessarily celebrate it,” she said. “And so to see us at the center of this event – Muslims, excellence and all those positive terms associated with our community can be very emotional.”

The MSA hosts many member events throughout the school year, from ice cream parties to barbecues. The organization’s goal is to provide a safe space for all members of the Muslim community in both a social and faith-based way, Atieh said.

In addition, MSA’s long-term plans aim to increase recognition of the Muslim community at UNC through communication with higher-level administrators, such as the chancellor and other administrators, Azzam said.

Former MSA Diversity and Inclusion Officer Haleemah Abdul-Malik, who will serve as Events Coordinator on the 2022-2023 MSA Board of Directors, said she hopes to recreate the event. in the future.

“It’s really exciting and beautiful to be able to see Muslims in all these different sectors, you know, being able to express themselves,” Abdul-Malik said. “Muslims in business, Muslims in STEM. And just so that all this excellence can culminate in this unique event.


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Andrew B. Reiter