NACURH Winner
Month: June 2018

NACURH, INC.

Diversity Program of the Month
Ramadan Celebration Dinner (Iftar) 2018

School: Utah State University Region: IACURH
Person in charge: Tien Lindsay Nominator: Crysi Muhwezi

Target Population: 150 Time Needed to Organize: 80 hours
Number of People in Attendance: 150 Date(s) of Program: June 11, 2018
Number of People Needed to Organize: 7 Cost of Program: $296.74
On-Campus Population: 3181 Chapter Size: 25

Origin of Program:

The FASA community at Utah State University is the family area located on campus. Many of our students are international students, and several of these students are of the Muslim faith. During the the ninth month of the Muslim year, Ramadan is held during which strict fasting is observed from sunrise to sunset. At sunset, when they break their fast, they do so with water and dates and prayer. Ramadan is observed by Muslims worldwide. It is held to commemorate the first revelation of the Quran to Muhammad according to Islamic belief. This annual observance is regarded as one of the Five Pillars of Islam. Because we have such a large group in our community we wanted to be sure to hold an "iftar" - which is the name for the meal eaten by Muslims after sunset during Ramadan. This program was intended to bridge a gap in our community & with residents by creating a safe space in order to broach the topic of religion amongst themselves and others. It allowed for people to learn more about this culture and experience. This was also a great way for people to make new friends and try new foods.

Word Count: 198


Please give a short description of the program:

Residents were informed and invited to bring a dish to share, this made this event a potluck. At the event our Mayor of Logan spoke, welcoming everyone and celebrating the diversity of the event, and then a representative of the Logan Islamic Center spoke, sharing the significance of the evening, they were also able to share a little bit about their beliefs. Then, there was a prayer signifying the ending of the Muslim's fasting for the day. After the prayer was said, then the residents/participants were allowed to partake of the food that had been brought. Residents were involved heavily during the planning and implementation for this program. For example, they had a couple of different planning meetings where they met with representatives from the Logan Islamic Center to plan the logistics of the dinner, making sure all of their dietary needs would be fulfilled, and what they expected from the evening as well. They also asked them to help bring drinks to the event, specifically ones that were specially made in the regions that they are from. They provided dates and were able to help set up the blanket space that was to be used for their prayer. It was advertised on Facebook, through flyers, on parking lot white boards, through the university's Radio, and through face-to-face interactions with everyone. Local businesses and churches were invited to participate as well. Many local churches that are nearby put up flyers for their congregations to know about this event as well, and there were emails sent out to residents as reminders in an effort to help people understand how important the event is to such a large group in our community. The residents who are Muslim were able to share this experience with several of our other residents who are not. Commonly they sit on the ground to partake of the food. There were tables laid on the ground and residents sat discussing these things, what they saw, the food they were tasting, and so forth. I was able to have residents explain to me the special circumstances in which someone would not fast such as pregnancy, illness, etc. One of the residents explained to me that they just make up for that time when they are able to fast again. It was incredible to see our community, on campus and locally come together to really honor these devout believers.

Word Count: 400


Goals of the program:

The more you understand a culture the better you can relate them. We want all of FASA and really all of Logan to be an inclusive community that has a high level of respect for others no matter their background. The world we now live in is becoming more and more diverse. An increasing life skill is to be able to relate to those who are different from you. As an educational organization we hope to teach our residents what it means to have respect for those different than you and make all feel welcome in the community we live. Our goal is to help students of the Muslim faith feel welcome and appreciated during their religious month. We also hope to promote this as an interfaith event where residents from all backgrounds can become more culturally aware and appreciate Muslim practices.

Word Count: 143


Positive and lasting effects of the program:

It is hard to measure lasting effects because they are still unfolding. One of the most beautiful experiences of this entire event was watching this group of people, who often feel judged, to feel understood, accepted, and appreciated. I have never seen a program where more residents were just grateful for the support. One of the goals of programming is to meet the residents needs and I feel like this reached beyond just a small group of residents who needed this, to a community that really needed to see that being different isn't bad, and that all beliefs or non beliefs are to be respected. We live in a state that is full of diversity, but to be able to recognize it, honor it, and support it on this level is what I believe on campus living is all about. We go to college to learn, and this program taught me to really appreciate all people no matter where they come from or what they believe in. Respect has such far reaching effects that I can only imagine this program continually changing our community.

Word Count: 185


Short evaluation of the program:

It was an incredible experience to watch people come together, to see a group of people who were so excited to share in the experience and help those of us who didn't know anything about what they were doing understand better. The program was humbling, it was beautiful (decorations and the experience alike), it was intimate, even with 150 people in attendance there was such a significant level of camaraderie and every single person of the Muslim faith was thanking the staff in charge for the opportunity to have such an event to allow them to openly worship however they saw fit. Better yet, having the entire community come together was far reaching. It was such an honor to watch the faces of these residents light up as they gathered together, conversed, laughed, and shared such a wonderful evening together.

Word Count: 141


How could this program be adapted to other campuses?

There is diversity everywhere. This program could be recreated as is based on the need for it at any campus, however, I think the shell of the program is to create spaces in our on campus communities where it is safe to believe, it is safe to not believe, it is safe to be whatever you want to be. I think that respect, honor, trust, and support of whatever makes a person a person is an honorable effort and a worthwhile cause. When we use our community outside of just what is available on campus as well, we really can make a lasting impact. I cannot think of a more noteworthy experience in the 3 years I have lived on campus and I think that every campus should have these kinds of experiences for their residents.

Word Count: 137



Date of entry into database: 2018-07-01 00:18:12

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