Photograph by Margaret Sun ’21
ALM Turns 30
Back in 1988, Farhana Khera ’91 and her sister, Samira ’90, reached out to as many Muslim students as they could find on campus. Their hope was to form a group built on shared faith and practice—a community, for example, that could come together to break the fasts of the month of Ramadan. They found a dozen fellow students, and Al-Muslimat (“the Muslim women,” or ALM) was born.
This fall, Farhana Khera—now the executive director of the nonprofit Muslim Advocates in California—was back on campus as one of the keynote speakers for ALM’s 30th-anniversary celebration. It is now a vibrant organization that serves students from many different cultural backgrounds, countries, and religious traditions—comprising roughly 6 percent of the student body. Programming ranges from lectures and discussions to social events.
ALM was one of the main reasons Mona Baloch ’21 came to the College, and she says it has defined her experience thus far. “For me, ALM mixes social life, spiritual life, and professional/educational life together in a way that I’ve never experienced, coming from a high school without a large Muslim population,” she says. “Communities like ALM are so important because they provide a unifying space in a place that brings students together from so many vastly different backgrounds.”
So Long, Farewell
The College said a bittersweet adieu to two campus leaders at the end of last semester: Tiffany Steinwert, dean of religious and spiritual life, and Christine Yip Cruzvergara, associate provost and executive director for Career Education. Steinwert, who had been at the College since 2015, became dean for religious life at Stanford University this month. Cruzvergara, who rebuilt Career Education from the ground up with an award-winning model that engages students from the moment they step onto campus, also moved to California. She is now vice president for higher education and student success at the ed-tech firm Handshake.