Students assemble for a photo with President Bergeron in the president's living room
Muslim Student Association Members with President Bergeron, her husband, Butch Rovan, and Dean of Institutional Equity and Inclusion John McKnight at the president’s house.

This October, President Katherine Bergeron had members of the Muslim Student Association (MSA) over to her house for dinner. The MSA at Conn aims to build a warm and comforting environment for Muslim students and to educate the wider Conn community about the nuances of the culture. Established in 2015 by a Bangladeshi Conn alum (just like me!), the MSA has introduced me to new friends and given me a wider exposure to how Islam is practiced in different regions of the world.

I was one of four people who arrived at her house first. The idea that strength comes in numbers can be applied to many situations, and this was definitely one of them. As President Bergeron showed us art pieces by Conn alumni she and her husband collected, the four of us were nervously awkward, to say the least. Where do we stand? What do we say? Do we even exhale? It can be intimidating to meet your college president in an intimate setting. Thankfully, as MSA members started trickling in we all relaxed and started act as more than barely functioning robots. I’m glad we did because as the night progressed the conversation covered what the juniors and sophomores were planning for their majors and Pathways, how marriage customs differ country-to-country, and how Conn differs from other colleges. Nights like this are only possible because Conn is a small community filled with people who care enough to want to make connections like this with students. It’s comforting to know that organizations and communities are recognized and acknowledged at Conn. As a first-year who’s going onto her third month here, I feel like these connections have made this transition much smoother. It’s small but significant things like this that assures me that choosing a small liberal arts college was the way to go.