The Armenian Students Organization (ASO) began the 2002-03 school year by holding it first meeting in September, with more than 25 members present. A new executive was also elected.
The next meeting and get-together was at Dominion Pizza, located at the northwest corner of Cedar and Shepherd. There were a lot of games and things to do, but for me one of the major things was just getting to know people, which I found very easy. There was plenty of pizza and soda for everybody. The pizza was hot, and the conversations, both in English and Armenian, were non-stop. People were generally asking questions about what the ASO is all about, and since I am a freshman, I only knew that there was an ASO, not about what they do. The ASO and the Armenian Studies Program are one of the major reasons why I came to Fresno. But there was also another surprise at the meeting, the ASO decided to buy a cake and surprise everybody who either just had a birthday, or was having one in the near future. (I was one of them.) There were plenty of pictures taken and plenty of smiling faces.
The ASO’s next event was a carwash fundraiser, which was held on Saturday, October 10, at the Flying A Gas Station located on Ashlan and Blackstone in Fresno. We washed over 40 cars and worked from 10 AM until 2 PM. The gas station itself is owned by the Torigian’s, who were nice enough to allow us to use their facilities. ASP President Sevag Tateosian provided us with Armenian music while we were working. Towards the end of the carwash we were eating pizza, lehmajoon (Armenian pizza), and drinking plenty of soda. Again, everybody was having a great time. As far as the cars go, we had many different types to clean. Some required two people, others required six people, such as the big Chevy Luxury Van owned by Ani. I remember the van was so big that we helped Gevorg climb on top of it to clean the roof, which was a bit difficult.
Our most recent meeting was again held at a pizza parlor, but this time at John’s Incredible Pizza, which was also a ton of fun. Some of the games included ice hockey, cards, and board games.
The ASO also decided to hold a Halloween party at Nyrie Karkazian’s house. People came with all sorts of costumes and again there was plenty to do and it was a lot of fun.
Our most recent ASO event was the “Donate two canned foods and bowl for free night,” held at Fresno States’ bowling alley and game area. The idea was just as the title implies. Donate two canned food items and have fun with free bowling. In the end, we had a total of two full boxes worth of cans, which went straight to Poverello House. Some people were even generous enough to donate more than two canned items.
So, yes, we had fun bowling. ASO Adviser, Barlow Der Mugrdechian, a Professor in the Armenian Studies Program, basically wiped out each and every one of us. He said he had not bowled in a long time, but yet he was still able to beat us. It was nice to again see so many people bowling with so many smiling faces and so much laughter taking place.
I would also like to mention that one part of the ASO’s activities also includes co-sponsoring various lectures with the Armenian Studies Program. The ASO takes pride in helping out in any way they can, which includes serving refreshments after the lectures. This semester we have heard from many people including Dr. Barbara Merguerian, who gave three lectures during the semester.
So far all of our various events this year have been a real success. Let me just say that as an Armenian, it means a lot to me to see us together bonding. History has shown that Armenians have suffered a great deal, including the Armenian Genocide of 1915. It is incredibly important for we Armenians to stick together and support one another. Spending time together like this and learning about each other is very important. The truth is, we are like a family, and we must stick together. What ever our next event is, I hope to continue seeing a big turnout like I have seen so far. Remember also that being part of the ASO is a commitment and should be taken seriously. Just think of all the friends you make, and the good memories you share with each other.
Remember, we are Armenian and proud!