NORTH HOLLYWOOD—On Sunday, June 12th, the All-Armenian Student Association (All-ASA) convened its final general body meeting of the 2015-2016 academic year. Over 20 members of ASAs from different colleges and universities across California were present for the gathering, which culminated with the election of the 2016-2017 All-ASA executive board.
The meeting consisted of a review of and extensive discussion on the All-ASA’s events and projects organized during the past year. Throughout the year, the organization used its newly updated mission statement to not only motivate individual ASAs to remain as active organizations on their respective campuses, but also to spur large-scale programming in the cultural, social, and activism spheres in order to engage all students with the greater Armenian community.
Outgoing chairperson Mikael Matossian, a recent graduate of the University of California, Los Angeles, evaluated the year to be successful, and noted the opportunities for further progress. “Thanks to our new mission statement, we increased the scope of work of the All-ASA collective and increased its community presence,” Matossian stated. “We worked comprehensively on cultural, educational, social, and activist programming not only to unite Armenian youth from different schools at events, but also to assist with their leadership development and highlight the important role that students play in the community. All-ASA provides an open space for students to be active. Regardless of what school, organization, political party, or religious institution the students belong to, there are opportunities to explore their Armenian identities and serve their community.”
The All-ASA’s variety of initiatives during the past year include the following: fellow recruitment for Teach for Armenia; a record-breaking 100+ attendee retreat centered on viewing the Armenian identity through personal, organizational, and global perspectives; a nationwide “Stain of Denial” silent protest against genocide denial; a graduation cord fundraiser organized with the Greater Boston ASAs to raise money for ONEArmenia’s “Bring On The Buzz!” campaign; the creation of a student lobbying arm; co-sponsorship of the community-wide Rally for Justice; a targeted effort to politically engage students with the ANCA HyeVotes campaign through canvassing and telephone banking in Los Angeles and Santa Barbara; a successful annual All-ASA Games sports tournament; increased collaboration with community organizations including the Armenian Youth Federation, Armenian General Benevolent Union, and USC Institute of Armenian Studies, as well as ASA collectives in Boston, Canada, and Australia.
The students present at the meeting also decided on specific initiatives to pursue next year, including a mentorship program for high school and transfer students, greater integration of ASAs in northern California and Boston into the All-ASA, as well as a campus-based awareness initiative centered on the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic and meant to educate Armenian and non-Armenian students about the realities of Artsakh’s past and present.
Incoming chairperson Ripsime Biyazyan, a recent graduate of Occidental College, expressed her enthusiasm to continue the progress that the organization made this year. “The All-ASA is a great vessel for students to remain connected to their community while still being focused on their schoolwork,” Biyazyan stated. “Having worked in the All-ASA for a few years, I am excited to now serve as chairperson to facilitate the organization’s inclusion of more ASAs outside of California, outreach to more high school and college students, and increase in programming. We will realize our goals by building off of our progress and new connections made this year.”
“I am confident that the incoming executive board will continue the progress we started this year and take the confederation to new heights next year. The board consists of almost all woman-identifying students. This is indicative of the important leadership role that empowered women currently hold in the Armenian student community,” Matossian added.
The incoming 10-member executive board is comprised of the following students and alumni from a variety of undergraduate and graduate institutions: Ripsime Biyazyan (chair), Emilia Der Sarkissian (vice chair), Mariam Khachatrian (secretary), Anahit Petrosyan (treasurer), Elen Martirosyan (director of information technology), Margarita Baghdasaryan (director of public relations), Emil Gorgoyan (director of community outreach), Emily Samvalian (director of socials/fundraising), Laleh Pakradounian (advisor), and Sevana Zadorian (advisor).
The executive board can be reached via email at [email protected].
The All-Armenian Student Association (All-ASA) works to unite various Armenian-American college student organizations and serve the greater Armenian-American community through cultural, social, educational, and activist programming. As the largest confederation of ASAs in the nation, All-ASA is dedicated to collaboration among its constituent organizations, leadership development of its members, and community service.