MSA co-founder, Basha Cole, discusses inspiration for new club
“This club is something we should have had years ago,” Basha Cole, co-founder of the SCAD Muslim Student Association, said.
Cole is a second year grad student who, throughout all her six years at SCAD, was appalled that there was no MSA whatsoever on campus. Until this year, there hasn’t been a MSA or any Muslim associated club at SCAD and Cole thought it was time to change that. “We have a ton of different clubs for a ton of different religions, but nothing for Muslim students,” Cole mentioned, “and there are a lot more Muslim students here than I guess I ever realized.”
Cole described coming to SCAD in 2012 with her sister not knowing anyone in the Muslim community. As desolate as the community seemed, Cole was determined to create a MSA at some point.
While in undergrad for film and T.V., Cole’s senior thesis film was called “The MSA” based around a fictional college’s MSA on campus. She recalled a handful of friends and strangers who asked about joining the MSA at SCAD only to explain that there isn’t one. This sparked the interest in Cole to create the MSA and to spread the word.
This year Basha and her sister decided to make it a reality and formed SCAD’s first official MSA. While it has only been six weeks since the beginning of the club, Cole reported there has been a great turnout for anyone who is interested in learning about Islam or any Muslims looking for a community. One of the great things about the MSA is how much of a refuge it is for current Muslims or intrigued students.
“It’s a community for Muslim students to feel comfortable and not feeling that they have to explain everything that they do,” Cole said.
Cole feels that she is always explaining her religion and wanted to nurture an environment for other Muslims to do the same.
Cole said that she both has and has not been treated differently on campus. She thinks the fine line between being interested and being uneducated on the topic is “not being ignorant and assuming the answer.”. She has had great experiences though. Not only were people genuinely interested in her religion, one professor even took precaution before a class exercise. “‘This is what we’re going to be doing,’ the professor said, ‘how do you want me to adjust this so you’re not feeling uncomfortable and so were not insulting you in any way?’” Cole appreciated his thoughtfulness and said this is how any similar situation should be handled.
The MSA will be having cultural nights at club meetings for topics like clothing, where they talk about traditional dress and the hijab, along with collaborating with other clubs in the near future.
MSA meets at Boundary Village Common Room on Fridays from 5 to 6:30 p.m..