Third-year Curry student Al Ahmed was elected as the new Muslim Student Association president for the 2018-19 academic year last Thursday. Ahmed will succeed fourth-year College student Ibtesam Zahid. Subscribe to our daily newsletter Other council members elected were second-year College student Osama Mohamed as vice president, first-year College student Sara Ali as treasurer, third-year Engineering student Mazin Ahmad as secretary, first-year College student Zertash Zahid as publicity chair, first-year College student Yusuf Baig as the brothers coordinator and second-year College student Sofia Jamal as the sisters coordinator. MSA has also added a new position to its council for next year, splitting the outreach chair into two positions — internal and external outreach. First-year College students Baraa Osman and Mazzen Shalaby were elected to take these roles, respectively. “The way I see [this position] going hopefully is to reach out to other groups around Grounds and be more active broadly…and making sure that the way we do things externally works to further our image … but to also to make sure that our own members’ questions and concerns are addressed,” Shalaby said. With approximately 71 percent of the active, due-paying MSA members voting in this election, Ahmed said that this year has shown the highest participation so far. “Typically I want to say we get 30 to 40, maybe 50 at best in years past, but probably less,” Ahmed said in an email. “It's crazy to think that in the past, 30 or so votes sometimes have decided the leaders of the entire MSA which is why one of our missions as an MSA council was to increase voter turnout and we did so this year.” While he commended Zahid’s work as president, Ahmed wants to continue to work to improve transparency between MSA and the MSA council. “One initiative I want to work on is connecting our general members more with the council … by implementing a committee structure which would allow for more involvement from the general MSA crowd,” Ahmed said. The council has explored adding committees that cover things like religious life, political action and cultural programming, but nothing has been decided on currently. These new committees are just one piece of the larger picture that Ahmed has for next year. “My biggest goal as MSA president is to ensure that we are fostering a welcoming and inclusive environment for all Muslims regardless of their religiosity or level of faith,” Ahmed said. “At the end of the day what brings Muslims together irrespective of culture, race, ethnicity, sect, gender, sexual orientation, or any differentiating factor is our religion and I want any Muslim student to know that whether they're struggling with their faith or are firm in it they have a home and place in MSA.” Ahmed said he also has plans outside the MSA, hoping to form a “Muslim Leadership Institute of sorts on Grounds to empower Muslim students to be confident.” “My hope is that through this program, Muslim students will gain the necessary skills, tools, and resources to not only be more competitive applicants to selective groups around Grounds but also … become the future leaders of tomorrow,” Ahmed said.