University of Michigan
Muslim Students’ Association
Fast-A-Thon is an annual event organized by the Muslim Students’ Association at the University of Michigan whose goal is to attract students from different backgrounds to participate in a one day fast as well as encourage students to donate to a noble humanitarian cause that needs support. This event is in its 13th consecutive year at the University of Michigan. Every year, students pledge to fast from sunrise to sunset on the day of the event, and sponsors also donate money on behalf of each participant to a selected beneficiary. Fast-A-Thon concludes with a dinner in the evening, where participants have a chance to reflect on the day of fasting and the cause, as well as make new friends.
Fundraising for a humanitarian cause has always been a notable effort that Fast-A-Thon organizers rally the community to support. Instead of being a passive student body or being part of the silent majority, we hope to encourage students to be part of the solution. We want to show people that strength is in our numbers and unification, and that we can make an impact and be agents of change by donating our time and efforts to a cause. We are asking the wider community, comprised of a diverse group of businesses, community members, alumni, as well as students to donate. By raising funds for children being deprived of education, this event serves the local community and encourages social action. During the day of the event, participants learn about the tradition of fasting in a multicultural context, which adds to the educational component of the event. Additionally, because the beneficiary is one whose plight has been in the international news media, we believe that this fundraiser will garner support from a large concerned audience.
This year’s Fast-A-Thon will fundraise to send displaced Syrian refugee kids to school. The organization we have partnered with is the Syrian Sunrise Foundation (SSF) which is a non-profit 501(C)3 humanitarian organization. It has provided orphan support, medical aid, food aid, funded educational programs and schools, and much more to Syrian refugees. As concerned college students we feel it is imperative fundraise to support SSF’s educational programs and schools. According to UNHCR, WFP, WHO, and UNICEF more than 3000 schools have been destroyed since the start of the Syrian conflict, and about 90% of displaced children dropped out of school. In 2012 to 2013, SSF spent $285,698 dollars funding schools, teachers, textbooks, and more. It is a great opportunity to provide students and the general community a medium to contribute how ever much they can to improve Syrian kids’ access to an education.
Fast-A-Thon has grown popular at a national level in top U.S Universities. It has been an annual event that Muslim communities at different college campuses host to bring together both Muslim students and students of other beliefs to meet Muslims and learn something new about the Islamic faith. The one practical step this event encourages students to uphold is fasting from food and drinking from dawn to sunset. This is one of the tenets of Islam and on the day of the event students are encouraged to try this unique ritual. At the University of Michigan, the event has been successful for the past thirteen years, bringing together up to two hundred students from different backgrounds to break fast together at the time of sunset.
Students that have attended this event have expressed the spiritual upliftment they feel as a result of participating in Fast-A-Thon. Whether its the short inspiring sermon, making new friends during breakfast, or the long hours of fasting followed by a tasty dinner, all these are what make Fast-A-Thon a highly anticipated event by U of M students. For Muslim students, this event is especially unique as they get to teach a friend or classmate about their faith and why they fast.
Every year the organizers of Fast-A-Thon strive to make the event a unique experience for the attendees. That means serving a delicious meal as a reward for those who fasted the long hours in the day. That also means arranging for a great motivational speaker to engage the audience. These two expectations that Fast-A-Thon organizers have fulfilled in the past, require a great amount of money to provide. Organizers of Fast-A-Thon across the nation usually charge students to attend. However, at the University of Michigan, organizers have kept the attendance free of cost and we as well want to maintain that.Thus, we reach out to you to help us strengthen our budget for this highly appreciated event by many U of M students. Funding is crucial as the success of this type of event has proven to be correlated with the amount of money the organizers are allowed.
To register for the event please visit: http://muslims.studentorgs.umich.edu/fast-a-thon-2
To donate to the event please visit: https://www.launchgood.com/project/uofmfat