By: Sami A. Mozip
The Muslim Student Association (MSA) at the University of Michigan Ann Arbor put on their annual Muslim Campus Day this past Saturday on the 15th of October, 2011. The visiting students were from many high schools, mostly in Dearborn, Dearborn Heights, and Hamtramck. The students were picked up in the morning at Hamtramck High School in Hamtramck, Salina Intermediate, and the Islamic Center of America in Dearborn. Students arrived at around 11:00am at the Michigan League. Many were very excited and looking forward to spend a day at one of the finest universities in the nation. Students registered and were grouped according to their career interest, then later were welcomed by Eman Dabaja, an undergraduate student at the University and a Dearborn High School alumnus, along with Omar Shaikh, a UM undergraduate and an Economics Major. Both students are the outreach co-chairs of the Muslim Students’ Association, one of the most distinugished student-led organizations on UM’s campus. Students shouted “Go Blue!” when their home school was mentioned in roll call and then attended an admissions presentation by Mr. Feodies Shippe, the associate director of the University of Michigan Detroit Center, who answered many of the students’ questions.
Afterwards, students were divided into groups for campus tour depending on their academic interests. The tours were given around Central Campus showing students different buildings and the explaining to them the amount of resources available to students. The students were very interested and asked their group leaders many questions ranging from the admission process to major concerns related to campus life. Groups re-gathered at the Southquadruple dormitory for lunch at the student dining hall. After lunch, students were given the opportunity to perform prayers and attend a seminar about financial aid and scholarships given by the University Financial Aid Office. Derek Williams III, the Assistant Director of Outreach for the Office said, “dedicate some of your time to apply for these scholarships early”.
The last segment of this great experience was an interactive group panel of students including undergraduates and a graduate student from the Ross School of Business, College of Engineering, and College of Literature, Science, and the Arts. A diverse group of students sat down with students to speak about their personal experiences at the University and answered students’ questions. Laya Charara and Gallal Obeid, both Fordson alum, spoke about their journey in coming to UM and the struggles they faced.
“What made me come to Michigan was the Muslim community here.” said Eman Abdelhadi, current President of the MSA.
“You have to really sit down with your parents and talk to them about coming here. Maybe you may want to bring them to campus for a tour if they’re hesitant” said Laya Charara, an English Major in the Honors Program.
The students boarded the bus going back to their home cities at roughly 5pm with many new things learnt about the University and the importance of higher education.