PMAN’s first and most enduring initiative has been the MSA Advisory Board, which was launched in 2005.
The Advisory Board is composed of 7-10 volunteers – typically past Penn MSA officers – who choose to give back by sharing their advice and assistance with the MSA. The Board meets via conference call at least monthly with the current student leadership of the MSA to discuss progress on a range of issues, including campus outreach, religious programming, social events, and community service projects.
Because the MSA is a predominantly undergraduate organization, there tends to be a high turnover in its campus leadership. The Advisory Board provides some stability in this respect, allowing it to work with the MSA on issues that may stretch on over the course of years, such as the MSA’s relationship with Masjid al-Jamia. Advisory Board members have used their past MSA experiences to assist the MSA with issues such as budget management, engaging stakeholders, and re-crafting the MSA’s Constitution, which was completed in 2006. While the Advisory Board does not set MSA policy, it does facilitate that process by providing an outside perspective.
The MSA and the Advisory Board have found their relationship to be both productive and rewarding. As might be expected, Advisory Board members have recently been drawn increasingly from the ranks of younger alumni who had the experience as undergraduates of working with the Advisory Board.