Norah AlJunaidi: Vice President of Students for Justice in Palestine

Major- Speech Language Pathology and Audiology, Aging Studies minor

Hometown- Severna Park, MD

Her Campus Ithaca College: How did you first get involved in Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP)? 

Norah AlJunaidl: I went to Palestine the summer of 2016 to volunteer in a refugee camp with my family, and visit my great aunts that live there, and when I came back, I wrote an article for The Ithacan about my trip, and Liz Alexander, the co-president of SJP, reached out to me and asked me to be on the e-board.

HCIC: What does being in this organization mean to you?

NA: Being in this organization is one of the most important things that I do here at IC. My trip this summer really sparked my passion to speak out against the unjust issues in Palestine, and all around the world, and SJP gives me a space to learn how to do that in a effective way that will bring education and change to our campus since there tends to be a lot of opposition to this issue. Beyond that, I have found an inclusive, supportive group of people that I learn so much from every week, and that I feel comfortable sharing my story and emotions with. They’ve helped me grow more confident in myself and in my abilities to be a strong leader this past year.

HCIC: How did you first become aware/get involved with the water crisis in Palestine? 

NA: Nidal Al-Azraq, who headed the program I attended in Aida refugee camp in Palestine, called International Summer Camp. He grew up in Aida, but now resides in Boston. There, he is the director of an organization called 1for3 which aims to reduce the negative effects of a lack of water, or a lack of clean water, all around the world, but especially in Palestine. During camp, he educated us about the water issue and about the Walk for Water that 1for3 runs. He reached out to me earlier this year to see if I would be interested in running a solidarity Walk for Water event,  with his organization, and the SJP e-board was totally on board.

HCIC: How did you feel about the event? (Organizing it, what you hoped to get out of it, how it went, etc)

NA: I was happy that SJP put on an event on our campus, because that means we have made progress as a group! Organizing it was difficult because I have never really planned an event before but I think that the work I put in and the help I got from the e-board really paid off. I really wanted to make it an educational event about the water issue, and also a way to get the word out about SJP and what we strive for. I think we achieved both of the those goals. However, I really do wish more people had come, and I think in the future, I would like to start advertising a lot earlier and on multiple different platforms so we can reach out to a larger audience!

HCIC: Any plans or ideas for future events/ways to spread awareness and get involved?

NA: Next year, I do want to have more events. I am going to try and find out about more national/international holidays that we can celebrate and learn about as a club, and I would really like to have a panel on campus with some professors, students, and community members that have opinions for both sides of issue (Israel vs Palestine), and maybe some people who specialize in research or knowledge on a particular aspect of the issue, such as BDS, water, media, IDF, history, etc. We have been an established club for a year now, and we need to have more of a voice on campus next year.