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Looking Forward with ASO

Advisor Barlow Der Mugrdechian, Ken Melkonian and ASO members moving the art of Varaz Samuelian to Fresno
Advisor Barlow Der Mugrdechian, Ken Melkonian and ASO members moving the art of Varaz Samuelian to Fresno

By Arakel Arisian
ASO President

With the dawn of a new semester Armenian students at Fresno State embark on their mission to improve the Armenian Students Organization.  Every semester the ASO tries to grow and become  more active, and this spring 1999 semester is no exception.  Here are some of the activities and events of ASO.

In late December and early January, Advisor Barlow Der Mugrdechian, Ken Melkonian and members of ASO  moved Varaz Samuelianís art estate from Burlingame to Fresno.  Members involved in the move were: Chad Kirkorian, Robert Mackertichian, Arakel Arisian, Shant Kataroyan,   Michael Harutinian, and Ara Mekhitarian.

Another opportunity the students had was meeting with His Beatitude Archbishop Torkom Manoogian, Armenian Patriarch of Jerusalem.  The Patriarch was the keynote speaker at the Armenian Studies Banquet (See Page 1).  Following the Patriarchís press conference the students had a half an hour to discuss topics of interest.  Questions for the Patriarch ranged from what his duties are in Jerusalem to    how religion fits    into a studentís    everyday life.  The evening ended with coffee and some poetry reading.  Students were impressed with the wide range of interests and talents that the Patriarch has.  All the students were extremely excited that they had such an opportunity.

boardSeated L. to R.: Dr. Kouymian, Very Rev. Zumrookhdian, Patriarch Manoogian, Dr. Isabel Kaprielian, Prof. Barlow Der Mugrdechian; Standing L. to R.: Micheal Harutunian, Matt Maroot, Ashot Hagopian, Rita Aramian, Taleen Kojayan, Talin Mekhitarian, Arakel Arisian

The spring semester started off strong with the first ASO meeting held on February 3rd.  There were over 35 members in attendance and all were eager to get things going.  There was discussion on a number of issues with pizza and refreshments served afterwards.  One of the most important agenda items  dealt with  a new community service program established between the ASO and the Armenian Community School of Fresno.  The main purpose of this program is to have young Armenian adults interacting with the children at the school, giving them an alternate way to learn and have fun.  Currently, there are fifteen ASO members participating in this program, which will continue for years to come.  Other major topics discussed were the Armenian International Dance & Music Festival, and the April 24th Armenian Genocide Commemoration activities.

Besides these there are other social and educational events.  The main social activity being planned is a spring break trip to Magic Mountain.  There are also a number of guest speakers and discussions scheduled for the near future.  The ASO is growing and is headed in the right direction thanks to a group of dedicated students who have made the overall running of the club smooth and successful.

The Armenian International Dance & Music Festival is one of the largest undertakings of the year for the ASO.  The event will be held on March 19th, 1999 in the Satellite Student Union on the California State University, Fresno campus.  The program will include several dance and music exhibitions by professionals.  The presentations will be followed by an opportunity to learn some dance steps and participate in the dancing.  The Festival will feature musician Richard Hagopian, the Arax Armenian dancers, the Anoush Armenian Dance group, and the Hye Oozh D.J.s, Susie Saghdejian and Nishan Tanossian.  There will be Armenian appetizers and refreshments.  Admission is free and everyone is welcome.  This type of event is a great avenue to remind Armenians of their rich culture and to share it with the campus and community.  The event was made possible through funding by the University Student Union Diversity Awareness Program, which  promotes the teaching of culture and encourages an awareness of the many different cultures found on the CSUF campus.