BY KYLE KHANDIKIAN
The All-Armenian Students’ Association (All-ASA) held its first general body meeting of the 2015-2016 academic year on Sunday, September 13, 2015 at Glendale Community College, bringing together representatives of twelve Armenian Students’ Associations (ASAs) from universities and community colleges across Southern California.
Lead this year by President Mikael Matossian (UCLA’14), the purpose of the All-ASA for years has been to unite the various ASAs of Southern California for the benefit of their members and the Armenian-American community at-large. According to Matossian, ASAs are dynamic components of the Armenian-American community in California and serve to both develop their members to be the next generation of leaders, and to inspire Armenian high school students to pursue higher education.
The largest confederation of ASAs in the country, the All-ASA began the new academic year by identifying a new, three-point roadmap that it will use to guide its cultural, social, and activist programming throughout the year: unity and collaboration among constituent ASAs, leadership development of its members, and community service.
The meeting brought together Armenian students from a wide variety of Southern California schools, including UCLA, UC Irvine, UC Riverside, UC Santa Barbara, CSU Los Angeles, CSU Northridge, Cal Poly Pomona, USC, Pepperdine University, Occidental College, Glendale Community College, and Pasadena City College.
Public relations director Nare Kupelian, treasurer Anna Kupchyan, IT director Lolita Gabrielyan, and social and fundraising director Emily Samvalian were also present at Sunday’s first general body meeting.
To continue maintaining an Armenian presence on their respective campus communities, the All-ASA members, together with the board, finalized the organization’s formal mission statement, established the rules and guidelines for their meeting space, and began planning cultural, social, educational, and activist events for the upcoming semester on Sunday.
Matossian noted that the All-ASA is “always changing and moving,” and that everyone who joined their first general body meeting on Sunday wanted to be there. For some schools, the All-ASA represented an opportunity and avenue by which to energize Armenian-American students on their campuses.
One student from Pepperdine University noted that her school’s ASA grew from just four members her freshman year to twelve today, a small but nonetheless significant increase in her eyes, and an example of the lack of visibility of Armenians on some college campuses.
The board stressed that the All-ASA was there to provide students with assistance to their needs, whatever they may be. From updating their online presence to organizing resume workshops, the board expressed its commitment to making resources and tools available to each ASA, drawing resources and talent from its alumni base and relationships with community leaders, businesses, and other Armenian-American organizations.
Matossian pointed out that as an organization, the All-ASA was unique. Though college campuses across the country have many cultural organizations representing the diversity of their student bodies, few have inter-school organizations like the All-ASA that unites them under one name.
Also on the agenda this year is to establish links with ASAs outside of Southern California, with schools around the country and even outside the US, irrespective of size and Armenian student count.
All-ASA meetings will take place every other week at the Glendale Youth Center, and are open to any Armenian student organization.
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.