Muslim students from universities across the western United States checked in for MSA West on Friday afternoon.

The Muslim Student Association (MSA) will hold its 18th annual Western Conference at Cal Poly on Jan. 15 – 17. The conference will bring an estimated 1,200 students from all over the western states to attend workshops and lectures by scholars from all over the United States.

“It’s an opportunity for college students, specifically Muslim, to take time from academics to focus on spirituality,” conference chair and civil engineering junior Alian Ali said.

The chapters represented will include students at more than 30 universities including UC Berkeley, UCLA, Stanford and Cal Poly Pomona, Ali said.

Attendees have the option of free lodging in the Cal Poly Recreation Center, and precautions have been taken to make sure it is safe for the attendees and the building, Ali said.

The theme of the conference is “Back to the Fitra: Revitalizing the Hearts of the Believers.”

“Fitra means purity. It is a very spiritual conference that will touch on the Islamic components of peace, unity, brotherhood, sisterhood and friendship,” volunteer coordinator Yusuf Vidal said.

The conference will include a video contest, an art gallery, community service competition and Quran competition where students will be judged based on their pronunciation and annunciation of readings from the Quran.

There will also be an entertainment night consisting of student performers, which will include cultural music and “goosebump-inducing” spoken word, Ali said.

Administrators have been supportive of the conference, including the Office of Diversity and Vice President for Student Affairs Keith Humphrey, Ali said.

“I’m glad to be able to put on this event, especially during this time where it is crucial for Muslims to be represented properly in our society,” he said.

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