MENASA Initiative

Our Story

The Middle East, North Africa, South Asia (MENASA) Initiative is a Cultural Resource Centers program with the goal of creating a sixth center to support the MENASA student community at PSU. 
The Initiative started in 2016 when it was included in the Cultural Resource Centers Five-Year Strategic Plan. This Initiative formally recognizes MENASA students (learn more about the MENASA region from Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education) and their allies who are a critical mass in our spaces yet do not have dedicated services. While our other five cultural centers have demographic data to support their mission, the MENASA community does not. This presents a unique challenge in supporting these scholars. The MENASA Initiative, like our other cultural centers, pivots on race and ethnicity. It is not a religious/spiritual center. For more information regarding this, please read this report completed by Student Activities & Leadership Programs and International Student Life, exploring the spiritual life of PSU students. 


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Physical Location: We are in the process of establishing a physical location. We are working out of the Multicultural Student Center until further notice. 


Recent Updates

Fall 2019:

  • Check out our UPDATES towards a physical space for the future MENASA Student Center



Highlights and Progress

  2019 - 2020
MENASA Initiative presents to the SMSU Advisory Board Part 2

Date: Nov. 13th, 2019, 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm

Location: SMSU 230

UPDATE (11/14/19): SMSU Advisory voted to recommend the CRC proposal to acquire SMSU 238. Next - this recommendation will go to the Campus-wide Space Allocation Committee in December 2019. 


At their Oct. 30th meeting, The SMSU Advisory Board voted to move voting on the expansion of CRC space (to accommodate a MENASA Student Center) to their following meeting on November 13th. Once a vote occurs, the SMSU AB would be sending a recommendation to the University-wide space allocation committee (where we will be reviewed in December).

Photos & Additional Documents

MENASA Initiative presents to the SMSU Advisory Board Part 1

Date: Oct. 30th, 2019, 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Location: SMSU 230

The Cultural Resource Centers will be presenting to the SMSU Advisory Board as one of the many steps to acquiring more space to accommodate a MENASA Student Center. We invite our stakeholders and supporters to join us in solidarity!
Physical Space petition / Photos

Program Coordinator Candidate Interviews

Candidate #1: Oct. 29th | 10:30 am - 11:30 am, Pan-African Commons (SMSU 236)

Candidate #2: Oct. 30th | 10:30 am - 11:30 am, Pan-African Commons (SMSU 236) 

Candidate #3: Oct. 31st | 10:30 am - 11:30 am, Pan-African Commons (SMSU 236)

Join the Cultural Resource Centers as we interview candidates for the MENASA Program Coordinator position. We need PSU student, staff, and faculty feedback as we choose the newest member of our team!

MENASA Welcome Back Gathering
Date: Oct. 15th, 2019
The MENASA Student Programming Team held a welcome back gathering to introduce the MENASA Initiative to new students, and share updates on our progress to a physical center. Students also had the opportunity to sign a petition in support of expanding the Cultural Resource Centers space in Smith Memorial Student Union to accomodate a MENASA Student Center. 
2018 - 2019
MENASA Initiative wins a President Diversity Award


Date: May 30th, 2019 
At the end of the 2019-2020 school year, the MENASA Initiative was recognized at the President's Diversity Awards, winning the "Distinguished Team" Award. Congratulations to all the students, faculty, and staff that made this possible!
MENASA Initiative students speak at a PSU Board of Trustees meeting
Date: May 13th, 2019 
Student leaders of the MENASA Initiative spoke to the PSU Board of Trustees about the creation of a cultural center for the MENASA community. 
Pictures & more documents
MENASA Initiative Spring Gathering


Date: March 3rd, 2019 from 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Location: Multicultural Student Center, SMSU 228
Find your MENASA community here at PSU! Join us in eating Middle Eastern food, drinking North African coffee, and South Asian Chai. 
Event Flyer
Additional Documents
MENASA Initiative presents to the Committee on International Recruitment & Retention


Date: February 12th, 2019 
Location: Karl Miller Center 
Student leaders from the MENASA Initiative shared updates, funding progress, and next steps with staff that work directly with PSU's International student population. 
Space Request


Date: October 2018 
Cultural Resource Centers staff and MENASA Initiative leadership submitted a formal request for a physical location in Smith Memorial Student Union (SMSU) to the SMSU Advisory Board. Our request is currently pending. 
Additional documents
Funding Request


Date: Wednesday, October 17th, 2018 from 12:45pm-1:00pm
Location: SMSU 326
Cultural Resource Centers staff and MENASA Initiative leadership requested funds for a full-time MENASA Program Coordinator, a MENASA event budget, and a MENASA Student Programming Team funds for the 2019-2020 school year. The request was approved 
Additional documents


2017- 2018
MENASA End of Year Celebration


Date: Wednesday, May 23rd, 2018 from 4:00-5:00pm
Location: Pan-African Commons
A space to review the progress of the MENASA Initiative, next steps, and how to get involved.
Additional documents
MENASA Initiative presents to the SMSU Advisory Board


Date: Monday, May 21st, 2018 from 3:00-4:30pm
Location: Pan-African Commons
Members of the MENASA Agency Group and 20 supporters (students and staff) addressed the SMSU Advisory Board to provide an update on the Initiative's progress, present a one-page memo, and prepare the Board to expect a physical space request for a MENASA cultural center in the future. 
Additional documents
MENASA Student Testimonies/Focus Groups


Date: Monday, April 30th, 2018 from 12:00-5:00pm
Location: Karl Miller Center (various)
An intimate affinity space open to MENASA identified students to collect testimonies. 
MENASA Winter Listening Session


Date: Thursday, March 8th, 2018 from 3:00-5:00pm
Location: Pan-African Commons           
Join us as we host our MENASA listening session where we will be talking about our student experiences and what resources we need to succeed. Also, come learn about the MENASA Agency Group. Food, music, and activities will be provided. Everyone is welcome. 
Additional documents
MENASA Fall Community Dinner


Date: Monday, November 13th, 2017 from 5:00-6:30pm
Location: Pan-African Commons
Dinner gathering of MENASA student leaders identified to support MENASA Initiative efforts.
Additional documents
Cultural Resource Centers hire a MENASA Initiative Student Assistant


Date: Fall 2017
Wafaa Almaktari is from Yemen and was born and raised in Sana’a. She moved to the US to complete her education. Her current major is Human Resources and Leadership Management, but her journey doesn't end here she is aiming to get a master's degree in Public Administration. She is a brave activist that dreams to be an Ambassador someday. Wafaa will support the Cultural Resource Centers' efforts to create resources for the MENASA student community at PSU.
Job Description
2016 - 2017 
Strategic Planning
Date: Summer 2016
The creation of a MENASA student center is first mentioned in the Cultural Resource Centers Strategic Plan.