Keen on making the school year enjoyable for its members, the Armenian Students Organization (ASO) hosted a Woodward Park social on February 27, as warm spring weather graced the Central Valley. With food, games, sports, and great company, a day at the park lifted spirits and strengthened ties for the members. “My favorite event so far was the Woodward Park social because it was the perfect time to have a day where we can take a break from the craziness of our classes and really enjoy each other’s company while playing fun games,” said ASO executive Elena Sarmazian.
While socials are a great part of ASO, a greater aspect is ASO’s involvement in causes that make a difference throughout the community. On March 17, ASO members volunteered at ValleyPBS during the broadcast of Valley of Hope: The Armenian Journey from Terror to Triumph. The airing of the documentary was part of the ValleyPBS March Pledge Drive and the ASO worked at the phone bank answering pledge calls. “I loved participating in the PBS pledge drive,” said Anoush Hakopyan. “It was an opportunity to volunteer for an event where people contribute to a worthy cause.”
During Spring Break, ASO hosted another social on March 25 at the residence of ASO Secretary Michael Rettig. Members came together and enjoyed a fun night with food, games, and s’mores. While the good spirits continued throughout the break, members prepared for events to be held in April.
After returning from Spring Break, ASO members showcased the Armenian culture on April 1 during “Amerasia Week” hosted by the Amerasia Club. ASO Treasurer Aramayis Orkusyan performed the traditional Armenian song “Hovern Engan” on the duduk. Following the musical performance, dancers from the Armenian Dance Studio, led by instructor Karine Hovhannisyan, performed an Armenian dance.
“We must represent the Armenian culture. We have a responsibility to do so especially as we are the only Armenian dance group in Fresno. The community needs to see our beautiful culture and dances,” remarked Hovhannisyan.
Adhering to the goal of raising awareness about the Armenian culture and the Armenian Genocide, ASO hosted commemorative events throughout the week of April 18–22.
These events included a cultural photo booth, passing out of informational pamphlets on the Genocide, a screening of the film The Cut followed by a night vigil at the Armenian Genocide Monument, and a one-hour commemoration that included musical performances, reading of testimonials, and a keynote speech delivered by Dr. Matthew Jendian, Chair of the Department of Sociology.