How to Establish and Operate a Successful MSA Chapter

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JANUARY 2008

CHAPTER S TA R T E R G U I D E

How To Establish And Operate A Successful MSA Chapter

M U S L I M S T U D E N T S A S S O C I AT I O N O F T H E U N I T E D S TAT E S & C A N A D A

CONTENTS

Section I.

Get Organized: 04
Section II.

Assigning Roles: 07
Section III. Section IV. Section V.

Get Started: 07 Procedures Guidelines: 09 Events, Projects & Other Useful Ideas: 11 Appendix A

Resources: 12
Appendix B:

Sample Constitution: 12

w w w. M S A N AT I O N A L . o r g

IN THE NAME OF ALLAH, MOST GRACIOUS, MOST MERCIFUL.

What is a Muslim Students Association?

A Muslim Students Association (MSA) is an organization devoted to strengthening the Muslim community through service and activism, educating both Muslims and people of other faiths about the religion of Islam, and facilitating a better environment for students on campus.

The establisher of an MSA should make the intention to establish an organization for the sake of Allah. Begin your journey by saying “Bismillahi ‘Rahman ar Raheem,” (In the Name of God) and pray that your MSA is successful, strong, and beneficial to all members and students alike.

M U S L I M S T U D E N T S A S S O C I AT I O N O F T H E U N I T E D S TAT E S & C A N A D A

S T A R T E R G U I D E How To Establish And Operate A Successful MSA Chapter

Section I. Get Organized
So you want to start an MSA chapter in your area but you’re not sure how? Here are some basic start-up advice from MSA National, serving and supporting Muslim students like you across the US & Canada since 1963. 1. Get Information: Visit the Student Union/Office of Student Government at your college/university/high school and ask about starting a club. The University will outline the club requirements and policies such as the minimum number of members required, election policies, etc. 2. Get Members: This can be approached in several different ways: • Word of mouth - tell your friends to pass it along. • Start an email list sign-up sheet of those interested. • Advertise on campus through flyers, etc. • Set up a table or booth at your student union and have interested people sign up to attend. • Go to club meetings, like the Black Student Association, Pakistani Student Association or Arab Student Association, that may have Muslim members and tell them about the MSA. Some schools provide a list of contact information for all the current students. Try to get a copy and look through it to find members. Whatever method you use to convey the message, make sure you take names and contact information for those interested. Compose a list or database of those individuals, and follow up with emails and phone calls telling them about the first meeting. Try to collect all of the following information from all interested individuals: • Name • Year/Class • Major • Phone • Email • AIM/ICQ/MSN Messenger Name • Talent applicable to MSA. (Web/graphic design, artist, public speaker, journalist, etc.) 3. Call A Meeting: Make sure this is well advertised on campus. So what should you talk about at your first meeting? Write an agenda and try to stick to it. If possible, send out the agenda to the students. Ask someone to take notes and another to keep time and make sure the discussion is on track. Here are some things you may want to consider: Establish A Mission Statement: In order to be successful, you must first get a clear idea of what your MSA’s purpose is. A mission statement is essentially a shared vision of the

organization that can be used in planning, decision-making, and evaluation. In a brainstorming session, some good questions to ask include the following: • What do we want to accomplish? • What services will we provide? • Who are our stakeholders? Ex. Muslim students, students of other faiths,, professors, the university administration, the campus community, MSA National. At the most basic level, the MSA should create a community of Muslims on campus. One MSA’s mission...
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