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Students play games, exchange culture at MSA Game Night

Bander Alshamri concentrates on his next move during a game of Carrom. Other players are Diego Cabral (left) and Ryan Oberlin (right). (Photo by Khadijah Bagais)

Bander Alshamri concentrates on his next move during a game of Carrom. Other players are Diego Cabral (left) and Ryan Oberlin (right). (Photo by Khadijah Bagais)

On Feb. 18 the Muslim Student Association (MSA) teamed up with the Latino Student Union (LSU) for a fun night of games with a diverse group of students. 

Several students played a popular Arab game called Carrom, which is of eastern origin and similar to billiards or table shuffleboard, while others played the more common games of Apples to Apples and Jenga. Everyone was talking, laughing and having fun.

The main goal of the event, said Bander Alshamri, vice president of MSA, was to encourage interactions between international and domestic students, to show some traditional Middle Eastern games, and give insight into the culture while also learning about the backgrounds of others in attendance.

Diego Cabral, a Brazilian student in attendance, said that he came because the idea was fun, and it was a nice chance to improve his English. "I feel comfortable here…they are cool people," he said. "[I think] it's a good opportunity to learn about the different cultures and to share my own."

Oftentimes, people may misconceive what MSA or its members are about, or may feel that the organization and its events are all exclusive. However, in reality, the organization is just trying to promote mutual understanding and acceptance.

This is why MSA is teaming up more with other Multicultural organizations, like LSU, to better express this idea of inclusivity and interrelatedness. By appealing to a broader range of people, they hope to get more students involved.

Diego thinks it is important to attend events that you may not normally attend, like MSA Game Night for example, because it leads to healthy interactions with people different from you. Otherwise, people are "losing these opportunities" that they may not otherwise have.

Bander admits that he had some misconceptions about Brazilian culture, like the idea that they only play soccer, but these were cleared up through talking with Diego at the event.

"When people come, people will learn about my culture and traditions and how we enjoy our leisure time, and I will learn about theirs," said Bander. "We ask and talk and learn."