With the start of the Fall semester some of the UC’s and Community Colleges have already hosted their General Body Meetings (GBM) and UCSD,UCSB, and GCC have shared their experiences with us. It’s amazing to know that ASA is expanding and that we are so successful in keeping up our ASA’s in different institutions in the States. Here are what our UC’s and GCC shared with us:
UCSD’s first ASA GBM was unbelievably successful. The week prior when ASA was tabling on library walk the turnout of new members inquiring was exponentially higher than ever before. We got people interested by having executive members messaging freshman and transfers mid-August, offering advice on academics and social life. Once we had built a multi-leveled relationship with them, we began to tell them a little bit about the Armenian organizations on campus and it turns out that that was the key to success after all. On the night of GBM 1, the number of fresh faces was almost unsurmountable by the number of returning faces. All in all, about 120+ people where there, at least half of which were newly admitted students. Every year we go to a bonfire post-GBM at La Jolla Shores, and it usually consists of a couple dozen people for an hour or two, but this year, again, we were pleasantly surprised by the number of people who were able and willing to come out to our bonfire. At one point, our executive board got together and just watched the largest crowd of people that has ever attended a post-GBM mingling amongst one another. We got emotional as we watched the 70+ people socializing and making new bonds. To our surprise, the bonfire actually stayed quite active for several hours, and it was very, very late in the night when people started slowly dissipating back home. All in all, I watched dozens of freshman find new friends and often see them on together on campus. Its safe to say that this year will be unlike any other for UCSD’s ASA, with a very strong start, we can only hope that our flash of success will continue to prosper.
How do you lure the entire (almost) Armenian population at UCSB to an ASA meeting, you ask? All it takes is charismatic members, a great environment to meet fellow peers and build new friendships, an inspiring atmosphere to create and cultivate ideas, some hats oo panir, and a post-meeting party at the “Armo House”. Did I mention hats oo panir? This sure-fire recipe did the trick for our first ASA meeting of the 2016-17 year. There was a great turnout, composed of returning and new members, who were eager for all of our upcoming events.
The meeting began with a light social where everyone bonded over lavash, panir, tomatoes, cucumbers, and watermelon – and the fact that they hadn’t had this type of cuisine in 3 weeks! When the meeting began, it ran smoothly and efficiently; probably because everyone was eager for the annual post-first meeting party hosted by our ASA members at the “Armo House”. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from these parties, it’s that nothing brings Armenians together like traditional Armenian customs do! Everyone was singing and dancing and rejoicing over Armenian songs. Strangers became the best of friends over a drink and some shared cultural background stories. By the end of the night, the association of Armenian students with other Armenian students was exactly what it should be – like-minded but vastly unique individuals joining in one place to create a better sense of identity, culture, and our impact on this society, and the one we long for in Armenia.
As always GCC’s ASA was looking forward to another successful and exciting year. Our executive team readily welcomed both new and old faces with a few Armenian treats such as lahmajun and nutella ponchicks. Our main goal for the first GBM was to create a friendly, upbeat environment that would encourage students to get out of their comfort zones and meet other members. This was done by dividing all of our members into smaller groups of 5-10 people. Each small group of 5-10 members were lead by one of the executive members. This way the students had a clear opportunity to really personalize with one another and they were given the chance to create small talk as well. We rotated the groups several times to give all the members an opportunity to meet others. This worked magic! The entire classroom was full of noise and laughter. It was truly a sight of beauty, seeing two strange Armenians meet and share a laugh right before your eyes.