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Saudi students win competition

Jason D. Cox
Staff Writer

The University of La Verne Saudi Students Association won the first place award in a competition against nearly 150 other Saudi clubs nationwide.

On Feb. 12, sophomore public management major and Saudi Students Association president Sami Aldejwi accepted the award in Tampa, Fla.

The prize included a first place plaque, a certificate and a $2,500 check for the ULV SSA chapter.

“I was not surprised,” said Associate Professor of Manage­ment and SSA adviser Issam Ghazzawi. “The last thing I said to Sami when he left for Florida was that I would be waiting for his phone call to say, ‘we are number one.’”

The SSA is more than just a club to celebrate and inform about the ULV campus about the Saudi culture, it also serves as a communication channel that strives to help Saudi students who may need it.

“We help Saudi students who are new to the U.S. to find cars, food, places to shop for clothing, dentists, M.D.s, all of that,” SSA vice president, Marzook Alotaibi, a sophomore public management major, said.

Part of the SSA mission statement is to encourage students to do well educationally, to give a good and accurate example of the Saudi culture and to give an accurate representation of their faith in Islam.

Each club in the competition was evaluated over the course of approximately one year.

These evaluations are conducted by three members of the SACM faculty and are based on 20 strict criteria.

These criteria include how well organized the clubs are, their participation in local social communities’ activities and how well they are able to attract non-Saudi Arabian faculty, staff and students to participate in club activities.

Clubs that ranked between first and 10th place were given an award, a certificate and a cash prize.

Clubs that ranked 11th through 20th place received a certificate.

“The diversity of our board members helped us to succeed,” Alotaibi said.

Part of the SSA mission statement is to encourage students to do well educationally, to give a good and accurate example of the Saudi culture and to give an accurate representation of their faith in Islam.

The SSA took first place in the Club Fair competition put on by the Office of Student Life for their incorporation of the theme, “Art of the Harlem Renaissance.”

The SSA reaches out to other Saudi students and organizations at surrounding schools such as the University of Southern California, Cal Poly Pomona, Cal State University Fullerton and the Claremont Colleges.

“When we set goals, such as winning first place in the SACM competition, we all agree that we will not have an easy time, but we will work hard,” Aldejwi said.

SSA’s continuing goals for this year include being nominated the number one student association at ULV and to help its members to strengthen their personal and professional skills, and expand their knowledge.

“The club is a reflection of its leadership, and we have the right leaders here,” Ghazzawi said. “These are committed, passionate, hard-working people.”

Jason D. Cox can be reached at jason.cox@laverne.edu.

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