ABSA Expo is a virtual summit to bring different student organizations (SOs) together in order to showcase their efforts, introduce them to the community, and networking while creating a platform for brainstorming new ideas for future joint events. ABSA Expo will be a single track event with panel discussions, keynote lectures, and poster breaks. During the poster breaks, the student organization will have the opportunity to present their posters and showcase their activities on campus as well as to network to the audience and brainstorming new ideas. Creative poster designs are encouraged. They can also show videos/images to their visitors. Sharing a link to their brochures would be another option they have.

  • Expo Day: January 23rd, 2020, 9-17 PST
  • Registration: Online through the form at the end of this page.
  • Registration deadline: January 20th 2021, January 21st 2021, 23:59 PST
  • It’s FREE!
  • Announcement of Student of the Year and Organization of the Year awardees
  • Links to the meetings will be sent to participants in advance.




All times in the table are in PST time zone.

Time Program
9:00 to 9:05 Quran recitation
9:05 to 9:20 Opening session: Lecture by Maulana Abidi.
9:20 to 10:20 Panel discussion: Voice of Shia students in North America
10:20 to 10:30 Coffee break
10:30 to 11:30 Panel discussion: Responsibilities of Shia students on campuses
11:30 to 12:30 Open Mic
12:30 to 14:00 Poster break, networking, and socialization + ABSA Network freshmen desk
14:00 to 15:00 Panel discussion: Professional development
15:00 to 15:30 Competition for the audience
15:00 to 16:00 Poster break, networking, and socialization.
16:00 to 17:00 Closing session: Keynote lecture by Sharif El-Mekki. Announcing winners of STY and OTY. Final remarks by the ABSA Network president.


Register Now!

The deadline for all of the following forms is January 21st 2021, 23:59 PST.

If you are an individual who wants to register in ABSA Expo 2021, this form is for you.
This form was due on January 21st, 2021.


  • Q: I am confused about the awards. How many different award categories are there and what are the cash prizes for each?
  • A: Good question! We have two totally different categories. The first one is the student of the year (STY) award and the second one is the organization of the year (OTY) award. In the STY category, students are evaluated individually, while in the second category organizations are evaluated in three different sub-categories. For STY, there is an overall $3000 cash prize for the top-three students. For OTY, there is an overall $6000 cash prize for top organizations in each of the three sub-categories.


  • Q: I am nominated by a friend for the STY/OTY awards. Should I still apply?
  • A: Yes. We will evaluate each candidate based on their statements, cv, and other documents required for application. It’s hard to evaluate just by your nominator’s comment.


  • Q: I am not nominated by anyone for STY/OTY. Can I still apply?
  • A: Yes! You can apply regardless of being nominated or not for STY/OTY.


  • Q: In 2020 we did not have many events as an organization due to the pandemic. Can we still apply for OTY with the event portfolio of 2019, instead?
  • A: Yes. We understand that the pandemic conditions have affected the breadth and depth of activities for some organizations. You can include your activities in both 2019 and 2020 in your statements. Those who have already applied can also re-apply to talk about their 2019 activities.


  • Q: I am not the president of our student organization, can I apply on behalf of our president?
  • A: Yes. You can still apply. Just make sure to provide your president’s contact info along with your contact info in the application form. Also, let your president know that you are applying on behalf of him/her.


  • Q: I am applying for the OTY. What else should I do?
  • A: There are three other things you should do. First, you should submit a poster for the poster break in order to introduce your activities. The submission form is located here. The deadline is Jan 20th. Second, contact us via email to reserve a spot in the 1min pitch introduction to student organizations. Third, make sure at least one person from your organization registers at the expo to present your poster and give the 1min introduction.


  • Q: My organization is not applying for the OTY award. Can we still present our organization in the poster break or the 1min pitch session?
  • A: Yes! You can still submit your poster or ask for a spot in the 1min pitch session if you are not applying for OTY.


  • Q: What is the selection process for STY and OTY?
  • A: Your applications will be evaluated by our evaluation committee. We will announce who is onboard. The main criteria are explained in student of the year and organization of the year.


  • Q: I have applied for STY, what will happen next?
  • A: All applications are evaluated by our evaluation committee. For STY, finalists will be selected by the committee. Finalists will attend the panel of “voices of Shia students in North America” on the expo day. Our audience will vote for the best students at the end of the panel. The winners will then be announced in the closing session of ABSA Expo based on a combination of evaluation committee score and the poll.


  • Q: When are the winners announced?
  • A: The winners are announced in the closing session of ABSA Expo on the Expo day, Jan 23rd.


  • Q: Should I apply for STY/OTY to attend the ABSA Expo?
  • A: No! ABSA Expo is a venue in which we will announce the winners of STY and OTY; however, there are other events in the Expo. You can register in the Expo here.


  • Q: I have submitted a poster to the ABSA Expo for my organization. How should I present my poster?
  • A: We will use Spatial Chat as a platform for interactive poster presentation. The corresponding link will be sent to the registrants before the Expo day. We will upload your posters on that platform ourselves. On the Expo day during the poster session, you will navigate to the Spatial Chat. After logging in, you need to locate your “avatar” around your poster so people can recognize you and interact. There is both video and voice available for communication.


  • Q: I have reserved a spot for the 1min pitch, how should I present my organization?
  • A: It will be on Zoom. You should be prepared to introduce your organization in 1 min. Typically, you can introduce yourself, the university/city you run your organization, your mission, and maybe one success story regarding your organization.


  • Q: We are a youth organization and not a student organization necessarily. Can we apply for the OTY?
  • A: Yes! We have expanded our definition for OTY to include youth organizations as well. Feel free to apply if you are interested.


  • Q: How will I get my award for the STY/OTY?
  • A: For STY, you will be contacted for the necessary information for direct bank transfer. For OTY, the award is like a grant. You will be contacted about the information on how to receive/use the grant.