In 2007, there was talk in the Muslim blogosphere of MSA National being dead. There were several articles, an independent survey and private meetings to discuss it. Five years later nothing has changed. Just the names of the people managing it. I attended the ISNA 2012 conference in Washington, D.C. and sat in the MSA main session in the main hall Sunday night. I heard Dr. Altaf Husain speak and call upon people to donate to MSA National. Appealing to the parents of children that attended campuses across America to donate because the MSA helped their children find their Muslim identity. This is true. MSA helped me and literally thousands of Muslims. The MSA has inspired Muslims to go overseas and study and come back and build institutes and educate the masses. The MSA has guided many from clubbing and drugging to praying and learning. The MSA has helped people find half their deen in a spouse that they love and appreciate (jokes aside this is a good thing). The MSA is wonderful and awesome for those who participated in it. Many who graduate and move on always reminisce on the MSA days. Many say they don’t miss school, they just miss the hanging out with their friends at the MSA.
The MSA is not MSA National. It hasn’t and was never in my lifetime. MSA National is literally just a few names on a website with a mailing list organizing the parallel conference to the ISNA convention. Ask your local MSA what is there relationship with MSA National and they will tell you there is none. I was an active member and for one school year the Vice President of one of the most active, largest MSAs in the North East. In fact at one point it was the most watched too by certain agencies. There is a mussalla larger than women’s prayer areas in some masaajid at the school I attended. They have actual wudhu stations (not just a sink). They also serve halal meat on campus.
The largest MSA East Zone conference in the history of East Zone took place in NYC. MSA National did not assist with that. It was an effort by MSA-NY which was a collaboration of MSAs in the NYC metro area. Ever wonder why there is no MSA West Zone conference, well that’s because there is MSA West which is another organization that comprises of West Coast MSAs collaborating together. I don’t really know how the MSAs in Canada are connected to MSA National. From what I can gather from public information there is really none.
If you go from MSA to MSA across North America you will find that most if not all have no need or yearning to be part of MSA National. In reality MSA National is just a convention. The fundraiser they have at every convention is to pay for the convention and speakers. If you don’t believe me ask them if the money is given to MSAs throughout the country. People should still donate, but the organizers/speakers should be honest about the fundraising. There is also nothing wrong in having the convention. It’s great and many of the sessions are good. The content that is recorded and available on YouTube is also excellent. This should continue.
“Why don’t you give some solutions instead of criticizing?”
Invest money into an online social community for each MSA. Each MSA would have their own profile listing their MSA information. Facebook is surrounded around individuals. They do have Facebook pages but that isn’t the central page of Facebook. MSA National can utilize technology and mobile to develop a system where MSAs can interact with each other sharing video, photos, events and ideas. It would be a specific niche geared towards MSA executive boards and those who manage MSAs each school year.
Another recommendation would be for MSA National to organize speaking tours of big name speakers for various MSAs who may not have the popularity or resources to get big name speakers.
Another one would be to have national MSA competitions and use the online social community site for people to vote. Maybe the best dawah event or the best artistic event. It can be anything. Then the MSA that wins is awarded at the national convention.
The point is that there are many things that MSA National can and should do to help and bring together all the MSAs instead of just a convention.
May Allah forgive me if I have said anything wrong. May Allah bring more success to MSA national and to all MSAs. Ameen!