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Armenian Cultural Student Association holds vigil for Armenian Genocide

The student group is also hosting other events this week in remembrance

There was a moment of silence held at the site of the vigil later that evening.
There was a moment of silence held at the site of the vigil later that evening.

The University’s Armenian Cultural Student Association is currently putting on a week of event programming in remembrance of the Armenian Genocide. To kick off the week, students and community members were invited to place flowers and candles at the site of the Berlin Wall on Grounds throughout the day Monday. There was a moment of silence held at the site of the vigil later that evening. 

Nearly 1.2 million Armenians died in the Armenian Genocide at the hands of the Ottoman Empire, which occurred in 1915 during World War I. 108 years later, about 25 students gathered near the Berlin Wall exhibition to remember this tragedy and honor the lives lost. 

Tatev Gomtsyan, president and co-founder of ACSA and fourth-year College student, contributed to the planning of this vigil in addition to other members of ACSA. She founded the student organization to create a space for Armenian students at the University, as well as to educate Armenian people about their heritage and culture. She said the group’s goal is to spread as much knowledge about the genocide as they can.

“We really hope that the vigil tonight will open students’ eyes to the depth of the history of Armenia and the genocide and how it continues to affect our daily lives,” Gomtsyan said.

Other events will be held this week in addition to Monday’s vigil, including a speaker panel with about 36 attendees Tuesday, a dance workshop Thursday and an art and music activity Friday. The ACSA also organized a fundraiser on the Corner last Friday.

Susanna Kharatyn, co-founder and vice president of ACSA and second-year College student, also assisted in the coordination efforts for the events. Kharatyan said it is important to bring “a little piece of Armenia” to the Grounds through programming, especially because ACSA was founded just a few years ago.

The Monday vigil, along with the other events, are among the first programming efforts by the Association since its founding. ACSA leadership said they wanted to hold this series of programming to provide a space for Armenian students and University community members to stand in solidarity and learn more about the genocide. 

At the vigil, ACSA members and other students placed flowers and posters honoring the lives lost during the genocide. After a brief speech, the organizers passed out candles and held a moment of silence. 

Second-year College student GK Do attended the vigil and said he has learned a lot about Armenian culture by being involved with the club. 

“This vigil serves as a reminder of the darkest aspects of humanity and the atrocities that were committed during the Armenian Genocide, but it also is a reminder of the strength and resilience of the Armenian people,” Do said.

Kharatyan said that the Armenian Genocide’s impact went beyond just its impact on the Armenian community. In the future, ACSA plans to continue hosting events to bring Armenian students together as well as have a greater impact on the University population. 


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