Four years ago, Anam Siddiq was a new student at UC Irvine, nervous about what was in store, eager to make new friends and ready to pursue an education that would prepare her for a career.
Her first few days of school coincided with Ramadan, which requires a month of sunrise-to-sunset fasting for devout Muslims. Siddiq, an American born to Pakistani parents, found out about a group of students who put on an "Iftar," an evening ritual during Ramadan where fasting and non-fasting students broke the daily fast together.
That group was the Muslim Student Union, a bustling on-campus religious organization involved in religion, politics, education, volunteerism and social justice.
"I was first a freshman, and it's where I formed a lot of the friendships that I still have today — through these breaking of the fasts," Siddiq said.
Siddiq now holds degrees in literary journalism and history. She graduated in June, and credits the MSU for enriching her experience at UCI and for helping her become a better person and Muslim.