Azeem Hussaini is a political science major from Bakersfield, California. He’s involved in a number of organizations on campus, including the Distinguished Scholars Initiative, Phi Beta Kappa, Pi Sigma Alpha and Allied Students for Another Politics (ASAP). He also serves as a leadership liaison for Diversity & Cultural Engagement and the president of the Muslim Student Association, and he co-founded the Students United for Palestinian Equal Rights (S.U.P.E.R.).
Q. What’s your favorite memory from OSU?
I’ve had a lot of great memories at OSU, so it’s hard to pick just one. However, I’m most proud of starting S.U.P.E.R., a Palestinian solidarity group for students. A group like this was missing on campus and the members are amazing people doing tremendous work. I know that they will be friends for life.
Q. Where have you found belonging at OSU?
I’ve had the pleasure of being involved with several amazing campus organizations, and I’ve found belonging within each one. OSU is a big school; it’s easy to feel small or get lost in the shuffle, but I’ve met some incredible students, faculty and professors, and I hope to continue building a lasting community for future students.
Q. What does community mean to you?
Community means being able to create or find a space where you can be your whole self, where you don’t have to worry about being judged by your skin color, religion, sexual orientation, etc. It also means cultivating long-lasting relationships and shifting our values or perspectives within that space.
Q. Tell me about a time that you felt connected to community at OSU?
The country’s current political climate has a lot of people feeling extremely uneasy. After the election, many people were afraid, myself included. But my professors and peers always made me feel welcome and this gave me a strong sense of belonging. Also, my friends and I met together during the night of the election and it illustrated the power of communal healing.
Q. How have your studies influenced you?
My professors constantly push me intellectually and they force me to think about concepts from a lot of different perspectives.
Q. How have your experiences outside the classroom impacted you?
My experiences in and out of class have symbiotic relationship: I’m able to use experiences I witness in my community to help understand concepts I learn in class, and vice versa.
Q. What value do you think diversity brings to our campus?
Diversity in race, religion and thought on campus is important. It’s what makes our society beautiful. Opportunities to converse with people on campus who do not necessarily look or think like you are incredibly valuable. There are people from so many different walks of life and it enriches the OSU community.
Q. What is special about OSU?
The people at OSU are truly special. The friendships and relationships I have established in my two years here will last forever.
Q. What advice would you give to a new OSU student?
Coming to Oregon State can be extremely overwhelming at first. It’s such a big school with so many students! I would tell a new student to get involved with groups and organizations that align with their interests and passions. It’s a great way to connect with a community of other students and faculty.
Q. Is there anything else about your OSU experience you would like to share with us?
Since this is a piece predicated around community, I have to give a special shout out the professors and friends that have made my experience at OSU rewarding: Dr. Sarah Henderson, Dr. Amy Below, Dr. Joseph Orosco, Dr. Robert Thompson, Dr. Tony Vogt, Jason Dorsette, Isamar Chavez, Marwha Al-Jilani, Amreen Hussaini, Aneeq Ahmed, Alex Ricco, Jasen Phillips, Justin Nielsen, all my S.U.P.E.R. members, ASAP comrades and my DCE family!