By Arakel A. Arisian
The Concert was part of the annual Vintage Days Weekend on campus. The ASO helped set up the lighting and sound for the band. The University Student Union, which sponsored the event, made a generous donation to the ASO.
Time seems to fly when you’re having fun, doesn’t it? Being President of the Armenian Students Organization (ASO) has given me many opportunities and has taught me a tremendous amount about leadership and motivation. One thing I have learned is there just never is enough time to do everything you plan on doing. Especially, when it comes to organizations such at the ASO. Next thing you know, it will be the year 2001 and a new millennium. What will be the role of the ASO in the 21st century?
The ASO was founded by the students to provide students of Armenian descent and those students interested in Armenian culture an avenue to learn, gain experience, and have fun. Today, the ASO brings together Armenians and non-Armenians from many different backgrounds. The ASO environment is always changing as students think of new and inventive ideas. Every year the ASO does something new to motivate and attract the students. This year the ASO hosted an All-State Armenian Student Organizations Convention, put on an Armenian International Dance & Music Festival, and like every year, had April 24th Armenian Genocide Commemorative Activities. What did these activities mean to the students?
Often it seems that the students are going through the motions. Students get motivated and they work hard to make these events successful. They see that there is work to be done and they do it. They do it for the success of the ASO and to help their fellow members. Yet the meaning can be lost in all the planning and organizing. With students having such busy schedules they sometimes skip the meaning of the event. But why is the ASO doing all this in the first place?
There needs to be a recommitment to the original mission of the ASO. When the ASO has a student’s convention the purpose is to learn about our culture and nation. The Armenian Dance & Music Festival is an outreach to non-Armenians to become interested in the Armenian culture. The ASO does the April 24th Genocide Commemoration to honor the victims and to demand justice. Students shouldn’t attend because they feel obligated but because they feel passionate about the issue and because they want to try to make a difference. The group as a whole needs put high importance on Armenian issues like the Genocide, even though certain individuals will have there more pressing issues at the time. I too have to sometimes put ASO to one side and focus on something else. Whether it is school, work, or another extracurricular activity, there will always be something. The important thing is that students always return to ASO for cultural nourishment. So where does the ASO go from here?
This year has been filled with many accomplishments and it is easy to see that many students care about the ASO. There is a sense of family and togetherness. Yes, brothers and sisters sometimes fight, but they are always there to back each other up. The fundamental tasks and organizational items are already addressed. The real challenge in the next few years is to build a social infrastructure that can motivate apathetic students and foster true interest in the meanings behind the activities. So as we move toward the new millennium we must rededicate ourselves to being Armenian. The sky is the limit for the members of the ASO, and it is up to them to live up to their potential.