Last night I visited the MPSN house which provides housing for Muslim interns coupled with a interactive ciriculum featuring local and national speakers. For me it was the first time I was presenting as President of MSA National.
The students asked impressive questions to all the panelists. One question in particular stuck in my mind. A sister from Michigan asked me what is definition of a successful MSA.
To be frank this is a difficult question to answer. From an organizational perspective you can look at common metrics such as:
- Number of jummah attendees
- Number of events
- Number of activities by type (ie religious studies, interfaith, community service, etc.)
- Accomodations such as Muslim Housing, prayer space, chaplin, and alumni association
and others. But is this really the definition of a successful MSA?
To me an MSA has been about the intangible experience. At the end of the day most MSA chapters exist to provide support for Muslim Students during their college and university years. Since deen and religiousity manifests itself primarily internally, how do you measure the success of that mission? And how does one measure that sense of community?