Students from the new Lebanese Students Association plan to raise awareness about current issues in Lebanon and raise funds for charities increase emergency aid this semester.
E-board members said they plan to create a tight-knit community for Lebanese GW students and use social media to raise awareness and funds for the conflicts in Lebanon. The student leaders founded the LSA last spring, registered as a student organization over the summer, and aim to organize social events for students to engage with Lebanese culture this semester.
More than 20 students attended LSA’s first general assembly on Tuesday, which included free falafel sandwiches and opportunities to pitch ideas for events for the fall semester to board members. Student leaders said they plan to hold weekly fundraising events, including a sale of Lebanese food this would send half of the proceeds to charities for Lebanese communities facing poverty, such as the Lebanese Red Cross and Social and Economic Action for Lebanon.
Sophomore Oliver Jabbour, co-founder of the LSA, said members hope to screen Lebanese films with outside organizations like the Foreign Film Society, an on-campus organization that shows foreign films to encourage conversation. on world events.
“I think it’s going to be so awesome,” Jabbour said. “It is enough to have a strong Lebanese presence on campus and off campus.”
Jabbour said the main goal of the new student organization is to bring people together on campus to promote Lebanese culture. He said the LSA had disbanded before, which made it harder to meet other Lebanese students. A Facebook page named GW Lebanon Student Association job most recently in November 2018.
“I want a strong community with these people and to start doing things together instead of being alone,” Jabbour said. “We are united by sharing certain religions or by sharing Arabic as a language.”
Sophomore Lara Eid, co-president of the LSA, said the organization plans to recruit students to join the club. and help spread awareness of Lebanese culture through public fundraising events and other promotional events such as the presentation at Kogan Plaza.
“I think a big Lebanese thing is socializing and everyone knows everyone one way or another through someone,” Eid said.
Eid said members hope to build an inclusive community not just for Lebanese people, but for anyone on campus to help out and participate.
“I want everyone, not just the Lebanese, to be part of it and just feel like they’re here and they can participate, not like they’re excluded or like they’re not the ones. welcome,” Eid said.. “I want everyone to feel like they can really engage and embrace our culture.”
Junior Katarina Hamady, the LSA’s public relations director, said members wanted to dedicate part of each club meeting to discussing current affairs in Lebanon. She said she wanted to create educational posts for the club’s social media to raise raising awareness of issues in Lebanon, such as the current economic crisis and the explosion in Beirut in 2020.
In August 2020, 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate explode in the port of Beirut, killing more than 200 people. Last August, thousands of demonstrators LEDs Protests in Beirut urging the Lebanese government to further investigate the blast which left more than 300,000 people displaced.
Hamady said members plan to use the organization’s Instagram account, which currently has more than 70 followers, to recruit students. She said LSA plans to be “as active as possible” this semester with sales of Lebanese food on Kogan Square.
“We certainly don’t shy away from sharing our love for our culture and educating people about all that’s going on right now and how you can help,” she said.
Junior Eyad Sleem, LSA’s cultural integrity director, said his role is to ensure the club ‘exemplifies the culture of Lebanese identity’ and that no religion is ‘discriminated against’ on campus , given that there are 18 recognized religions in Lebanon.
Sleem said GW needed the Lebanese Students Association due to the high number of Lebanese students on campus. He joined the organization wanting to create a community where students can talk to each other and share their culture.
Sleem and other members said they hope to collaborate on student programming with other organizations on campus, such as the Arab Students Association and the Middle East Society. He said the LSA could organize a joint Brazilian and Lebanese barbecue with the Brazilian Student Association as well as other bonding events for all students.
“As a board member, I would say my responsibilities would be to ensure that this club succeeds in its mission to bring Lebanese children together and form a good community,” Sleem said. “There are a lot of freshmen on campus and I also noticed a lot of exchange students that we might try to bring in.”
Sophomore and LSA member Maya Sabeh said she was thrilled to have an organization where Lebanese students can bond and get to know each other.
“I’m half Lebanese and have lived in the United States for most of my life, but I want to connect more to my culture and my Lebanese side,” Sabeh said.
This article originally appeared in the October 3, 2022 issue of The Hatchet.