By Justin Schellenberg, January 23 2018 —
The Students’ Union has approved an extension for Quality Money funding of the Arabic Language and Muslim Culture (ALMC) program at the University of Calgary Faculty of Arts through June 2019.
The Quality Money program was created in 2003 in an effort to equitably share the surplus created by an increase in tuition costs among students and faculty. Composed of SU executives, faculty representatives and students-at-large, the committee allocates close to $2 million in funding to projects proposed by students, staff or faculty members. Quality Money has funded projects such as the flu clinic, as well as renovations to sites across campus, including the Gauntlet offices.
The ALMC’s initial Quality Money fund of $182,000, which has mostly been used towards providing extra programming, was issued in 2013, the same year as the ALMC program’s foundation.
“It’s been really wonderful and a real enhancement to the program to be able to use that money to bring all sorts of different guest speakers to campus,” said Rachel Friedman, an ALMC instructor.
A popular program funded through Quality Money is the Arabic conversation hour, an event that provides a welcoming atmosphere for anyone on campus who speaks Arabic to meet and discuss a range of topics.
“What’s really fun is we get people from the Study Abroad office and from other parts of campus who just happen to hear that there is a place where they can come drink some coffee and speak Arabic with other people,” Friedman said.
Curtis Wilson, a second-year international relations student who is taking ALMC 303, a second-level Arabic language class, said ALMC events and programs have been integral to his education.
“I find with learning any language, being surrounded by the culture is necessary,” Wilson said.
Friedman said the funding has also been used in an effort to highlight global Muslim culture. Through that effort, the program held a concert last year showcasing raga, a melodic form of classical Indian music. The event drew more than 200 people.
“They played a fantastic concert and interspersed their playing of the music with lecture segments about the history of the genre,” Friedman said.
The funding helped start the ALMC program in 2013 after students lobbied the university and the SU to provide more Arabic language-related content.
The ALMC program, which is part of the School of Languages, Linguistics, Literatures and Cultures, is open to all U of C students. More information on ALMC events can be found on their website.