BOSTON — The Boston area is famed for being home to some of the most famous institutions of higher education in the world like Harvard, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Northeastern and Boston University. Each of those universities has its own Armenian student organization. One of their main purposes is to unite Armenian students and to promote Armenian culture on their campuses.
“What is your favorite memory of being Armenian?” Emin Abrahamian asked, as the 10-member group gathered for their weekly meeting at Northeastern. Abrahamian is a third-year student in the bio-engineering major and the current president of Northeastern’s Armenian Student Association (ASA).
Knar Krafian, a science major, spoke about the memory of her most recent trip to Armenia and her discovery of Khor Virap. Jack Zakian, a fourth-year engineering student, recalled the wedding of his uncle, which was “pretty Armenian” in his words.
Every other Monday, Northeastern’s ASA members meet to discuss and learn more about each other. One of their main objectives is to open up the group to Armenians and non-Armenians : “Sometimes, some members bring their non-Armenian friends, so that’s the best way to make them discover Armenia. We even have a Portuguese student who used to come to our meetings from time to time,” Abrahamian explained.
Lena Bardakjian is a Boston University student majoring in public relations and sociology. She is also the president of the Boston University’s ASA who encourages members to advertise their club to all students. “Although most of our members are of Armenian descent, we welcome everyone and encourage them to bring non-Armenian friends who are interested in learning more about our organization and culture,” Bardakjian said.
For several years, the Northeastern’s ASA has organized events to help Armenia. Last year, they hosted a fundraising dinner for Artsakh on campus, raising $600 in a single day. “A now-graduated member of the club whose family owned an Armenian restaurant donated meat to us. We grilled from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. so people would come and go as they got out of classes. We made it affordable; it was $3 for a sandwich and the majority of people who came weren’t Armenian,” Abrahamian explained. Posters and flyers about the situation in Armenia/Artsakh were also on display, to make this event both educational and fun.