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ASA holds art gallery in remembrance of the Armenian Genocide

Attendants at the gallery could view a variety of painintgs depicting the Armenian Genocide. (The Sundial Photo/ Manny Araujo)

The Armenian Student Association (ASA) hosted the opening of their first Armenian-based art gallery on April 23. Several people crowded the Art and Design building’s West Gallery in remembrance of the Armenian Genocide 100 years ago on April 24, 1915.

The gallery featured 24 pieces of artwork collected from the CSUN community and nine artists of Armenian descent showing their take on the genocide.

“It’s just amazing how the art community has come together to spread awareness in a different way,” said the president of ASA Christine Dashdemirians. “We’re just trying to find different ways to express our thoughts about the genocide.”

Artist Rosik Assatourian has re-created over 40 pictures of the genocide into the several paintings that were featured in the art show that tell a story of before, during and after the genocide.

“I wanted to paint [the Armenian people from the genocide] and see how they are,” said Assatourian. “Like the woman sitting there with the children. I wanted to feel her.”

The painting she describes is titled “Despair,” with a caption that said, “A mother sits with her baby in her lap surrounded by her four dead children.”

Other paintings shown by her feature a more happy time, with “1915––Before Genocide,” showing men and women sitting around a cafe talking and enjoying one another’s company, to the heart-wrenching moments of death and misery amongst the other paintings.

Her largest painting featured is titled “The March.” The painting shows several hundreds Armenian people marching along a desert, surrounded by Turkish soldiers on horses and four mountains, which represent the four seasons: Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall.

Rosik’s biographical paintings were very popular with the audience, as she was constantly bombarded with questions on what the paintings symbolized and why she chose to paint some Armenian women with head scarves.

The gallery also featured a family affair, as a mother and her two sons contributed to the gallery itself.

Artist and mother, Anna Mardayan displayed three pieces of art, each presenting a theme: survival, resilience, and hope. She captured these feelings through a graphically enhanced drawing of a woman’s tearful eye, with the reflection in her pupil of the symbol of the Turkish flag.

“I wanted to represent here, that we keep looking at Turkey, and we keep hoping that one day they’ll recognize the Armenian Genocide,” said Mardayan. “This is why it’s called ‘Hope.’ It’s time. It’s been 100 years, once it’s recognized then we call all move on.”

Her youngest son, ASA member Gabriel Dzhandzhikyan, contributed a painting of the Armenian alphabet and the Armenian flag, bringing his culture and what he knows to the forefront.

“For the hundredth year, I decided to do a painting for everyone to see,” said Dzhandzhikyan. “We grew up learning these letters and these three major colors, so I wanted to show everyone that.”

Mardyan’s oldest son, ASA member and kinesiology major Yegia Dzhandzhikyan,helped set up and put together the first Armenian art gallery.

“Everyone has their own viewpoint and this is their viewpoint on the genocide,” said Dzhandzhikyan.

Other artists featured included Lily Karadavoukian, Anahit Fstkchian, Talar Arslanian, Tada Asatoorian, Rayan Karapet and Karapet Oganesyan.

The artists said all the pieces of art held a story and symbolic message in their work, and how it represented their heritage, culture and the affect that the genocide had.

Viewers will find the apricot and pomegranate featured throughout the gallery, as the apricot is said to be the fruit of their country and the pomegranate represents the people, post-genocide.

“The pomegranate is more so a symbol of the genocide,” said Hakop Oganesyan, the son of artist Karapet Oganesyan, who was not present for the event. “Armenia spread the pomegranate throughout the world. The very poetic and artistic thing is that when its ripe on the tree –– it cracks and that crack can never be healed, and a lot of artists use that to describe our pain after the genocide.”

The art gallery is closed today for the anniversary of the genocide, but will reopen Saturday and continue through until April 29.



Self-taught CSUN student offering free course

Photo credit: Raul Martinez

Junior Ibram Uppal’s hard work paid off when an online course he created attracted over 1,000 and counting.

His course, The Comprehensive Guide to Swift, teaches users with little or no coding experience to learn Swift, Apple’s new programming language that is used to create iOS and OS X applications. This programming language is essential for the development of iPhone, iPad or Mac applications.

The course consists of 72 lectures ranging from three to six minutes in length, all of which are guided by Uppal himself. The lectures begin with basic coding to more complicated object-oriented and functional programming.

The course is free, but it hasn’t always been. Uppal had initially intended to offer the course for $100 when he uploaded it onto Udemy, a website that allows experts in different fields share their online courses.

However, anticipating a certain amount of reluctance by newcomers to the course, Uppal decided to go a different route.

“I decided I’m going to offer it for free and see what happens,” said Uppal. “Literally a few hours after I put it up for free I had 72 students and not even within 12 hours passing I had about 200 students.”

At press time, Uppal now has over 1,300 students enrolled in his course.

Creating the course was no feat for Uppal, who knows 14 programming languages and is owner of Megaplex Applications Inc., a mobile and web development company he recently started.

He felt that creating an online course about Swift would be helpful for those trying to learn.

“I just thought that there was definitely a demand for it right now and a really small supply,” said Uppal. “I figured that I have all the assets that I need to build the course and I know all the things I need to write the course, so there’s no reason why I shouldn’t.”


Aside from his online course, Uppal has created three applications that are available on the Apple App Store.

He is most proud of an app he created called Bouncy Buzz, which is similar to the popular game Flappy Bird that advances you through tougher stages with each successful passed level.

The inspiration for the app came from games he grew up playing like Pokémon on his Gameboy, said Uppal.

Currently, Uppal is developing another game app called Fast Food Hustle, a timed game that lists ingredients you have to find before time runs out.

He encourages those who wish to learn how to code to “just do it” and if they need help, to feel free to contact him through his webpage.

“[Coding is] the new reading and writing,” Uppal said. “If you don’t know how to code, then you’re going to be at a huge disadvantage. It not only teaches you how to do things faster, but it also shows you different ways to think.”


Baseball: Matadors pitching strong, win 2-1 against UC Riverside

Junior starting pitcher Calvin Copping stifles the visiting UC Riverside Highlanders propelling CSUN to a 2-1 victory. Copping pitched seven innings, gave up one earned run and diced out nine strikeouts. Raul Martinez/ The Sundial Photo credit: Raul Martinez

The Matadors (25-15, 4-9 Big West) get much needed conference win, beating the visiting UC Riverside Highlanders 2-1, despite the lack of run production.

CSUN junior starting pitcher Calvin Copping was dominant from the first pitch and continued this level of play throughout the game.

“You can’t argue with what Calvin does every week in terms of competing.” said CSUN head coach Greg Moore. “I thought today was as sharp as he’s been.”

Copping received his fifth win of the season (5-4). He pitched seven innings, had nine strikeouts, allowed one earned run on five hits, and brought his era down from 3.03 to 2.85.

The Matadors scored an early first inning run, but UC Riverside eventually tied the game with a seventh inning RBI single by senior Alex Rubanowitz.

Though the Matadors hitting wasn’t as productive as their six-run outburst on Tuesday against San Diego State, they were able to produce some quality at bats.

In the bottom of the seventh inning, junior William Colantono answered the Highlander’s game-tying run with a two-out RBI single of his own, breaking the tie game.

“It was a great at bat by Will.” said Moore about the go-ahead RBI hit. “Early in the game he wasn’t seeing the ball well, [but] to Will’s credit, he found a way to steady himself.”

While Colantono got the winning RBI, CSUN sophomore relief pitcher Conner O’Neil received his seventh save of the season.

O’Neil replaced Copping for the final two innings, allowing one hit while getting two strikeouts

Coach Moore’s decision to replace Copping for O’Neil had to do with UC Riverside’s lineup changes and not necessarily pitching production.

“They were just about to flip their lineup.” said Moore. “I really respect the top half of their [batting] order. We just wanted to show them something else.”

UC Riverside’s starting pitcher Joie Dunyon received the loss (1-1), despite dishing out 10 strikeouts against the CSUN batters.

Also, Matadors’ freshman and lead-off hitter Elias Orona led both teams in stolen bases, with three in the first two innings.

CSUN will face UC Riverside at 2 p.m. Saturday, for the second game of this three-game Big West series at Matador Field.

Watsi Club promotes accessible finances required for medical care

CSUN students helped raise awareness/ funds for Watsi - a non profit organization that enables anyone to directly fund medical care for people in need from third-world countries. Photo credit: Esmeralda Ramirez

CSUN students helped raise awareness and funds for Watsi, a non-profit organization that enables anyone to directly fund low-cost and high-impact medical care for people in need from third-world countries, with a campus-wide event on April 23.

This organization, a crowd-funding platform, allows people willing to donate funds to select specific patients. After donations are made, you receive email updates to see how the money you funded is making an impact. The event also emphasized the idea of sharing with others a way to make a difference in the lives of people and knowing exactly where and to whom their money is going to.

“The information is very transparent,” said Shauli Chowdhury health administration major, graduating senior.

The goal of the CSUN’s Watsi Club, as the members’ senior class project for CSUN’s department of health administration, is to help raise funds and show people a simple and easy way to make a difference in the lives of people who do not have the financial resources to cover their medical bills. CSUN Watsi is a new club on campus and just got approved in October 2014, hoping to raise $1000. As of April 23, the organization has raised almost half of its projected amount.

Julio Choy, historian for the Watsi Club, said that together the club and other class members have collected all of their funds within the past three weeks. The club members hope for the money raised to be an ongoing cycle and even if it is not reached by the end of the semester, they hope the CSUN community to continues donating money.

“It’s a great organization because you see where your money is going,” said senior Justin Paalisbo, a health administration major.

People do not donate money for things that might benefit the health and well being of others, said Aida Cham, president and founder of the CSUN’s Watsi Club. She said her goal is to help raise awareness for this event so that people will take the time to donate money to something that will actually make a difference in people’s lives.

“I want to see that my money is actually being used, you actually choose who you want it to go to,” said Paalisbo.

For more information about the CSUN Watsi contact the organization through :

Online donations are a minimum of $5

direct email:

CSUN upgrades its look, along with its local, national appearance

Photo credit: Cal State Northridge website

To a full audience in the Plaza del Sol Theater, CSUN unveiled the university’s new logo, graphic system and an entirely new platform they will be using to move the institution forward in the Reputation and Visibility Campaign Launch Thursday morning.

The repositioned platform that CSUN is using will provide an entirely new look not just on a communal level, but nationally. The updated graphics and logo are the center of this launch towards a higher institutional reputation and redesigned identity.

“CSUN has such a powerful story to tell, not just to our internal community, our students, our faculty, but I think to our partners out there: our legislators, our community members, our business people,” said Vice President of the Associated Students Talar Alexanian. “By making sure we’re showcasing our stories in a way that is visually appealing, that is sleek, that is bold, that catches your attention really builds that connection for you on campus is truly integral to taking CSUN to the next level.”

By upgrading the overall image CSUN will have the ability to compete with the more highly ranked schools in California and the nation.

“I think this is a really great step and you have to change the way you appear for people to really take you seriously,” said Andrei Burke, CSUN staff member and alumni.

The high-quality education students receive at CSUN is not as well-known as it should be and the new platform this launch has taken will emphasize that. To most, CSUN is seen as not much more than a community college and that is cause for a lack in reputation, even though it is entirely the opposite, Burke said.

“I liked the point that was made about CSUN having the qualities of a promising university but not really being known as one of those top universities for all of the programs that we offer,” said deaf studies major Jasmine Riggins.

This quality of the university will also carry a new weight on the degrees that students earn upon graduating. Instead of being one of those schools that corporations “bat their eyes at” CSUN has become one they struggle with, says Burke.

“What CSUN as an institution has that other institutions may not,” Alexanian said, “that sets us apart from the rest, is the fact that we have hands on learning, is the fact that we’re exposed to and are being able to collaborate with the diverse communities here on campus. I don’t think that corporations and business people quite know that story yet.”

The launch was directed at not only the CSUN community, but the surrounding corporations, partnerships, philanthropists and supporters of the university.

“CSUN students should care that we’re e putting so much effort and emphasis into this initiative is because when we graduate it’s going to make us more competitive in the work force,” said Alexanian. “We’re going to get the jobs that we want and we’re going to make sure that we’re being personally successful as well as the university that molded us that way.” She said the redesigned CSUN plans to send students into the working world with a higher chance of success and a greater chance of employment.

March for Justice held across the world for Armenian Genocide commemoration

On the morning of March 24, thousands of people marched the streets of LA to bring awareness on the 100 year anniversary of the Armenian Genocide.

The #ArmenianGenocide and #MarchforJustice appeared in over thousands of tweets from around the world to commemorate the massacre of millions.

Several marches took place around the world. Tweets surfaced all over Twitter saying that this day in history will not be forgotten and that the genocide will one day be recognized by Turkey.

Even Katie Couric put out a special video on the history of what the Armenian Genocide was, receiving a positive tweet from Kim Kardashian on the topic, showing the immense influence the Armenian people have on the world.

Geek Clash Ep. 29 – Catching up


The Geek Clash is all about making good on old promises this week (sorta) on the latest show. Trevor finally watched “Firefly,” but was he hooked? Listen in as he discusses his time with the show’s pilot, as well as his opinions on television shows in general. The crew also talk about the latest “Avengers” controversy and dive into a comic recommendation from Lita.

If you missed last week’s show, click here.

Tune in every Friday for new episodes of Geek Clash. If you have questions, comments, or grievances, reach out to us at:


Candlelight vigil held for anniversary of the Armenian Genocide

Bracelets and shirts that said "Never Again" were being given out by the Armenian Student Association and Alpha Epsilon Omega. Brandon Navarro/Photographer Photo credit: Branden Navarro

The CSUN Armenian Student Association held a candlelight vigil in the Thousand Oaks room of the University Student Union to commemorate those who were killed in the Armenian Genocide on April 22.

“We are here for the same reason – to show that Turkey failed,” said Christine Dashdemirians, president of the CSUN Armenian Student Association, in reference to the hashtag #TurkeyFailed on social media.

Plastic olive green, light blue and copper-colored candles were set by the table behind the room, which had refreshments and Armenian pastries such as ponchik, a cream puff sometimes called an Armenian donut. The candles would later be handed out to the audience, who would hold them at the end of the night’s activities.

Freshman Hovo Margaryan, 19, mechanical engineering student, came to learn about the genocide.

“I’m Armenian, I wanted to see what they’re talking about,” said Margaryan. “I just want to be informed, the campus has a lot of Armenians here. We celebrate other cultures, we should take the day off.”

Margaryan referred to April 24, the official date of the genocide and a day of commemoration worldwide for the genocide.

The YouTube videos “Armenian Genocide Awareness Week at CSUN (100 Crosses)” and “Stain of Denial at CSUN (2015)” were shown at the vigil, made by students in ASA. The “100 Crosses” video highlighted the crosses behind the Oviatt Library, and the symbolism behind them – a cross for every year since 1915, the year the genocide occurred. The “Stain of Denial” video highlighted a silent protest in front of the Oviatt held by the ASA in February.

The vigil was part of a week-long series of events by the ASA recognizing the genocide at CSUN.

“I want to applaud you because for everyone that’s here, there’s probably five more that are not,” said the mayor of Glendale Zareh Sinanyan.

Sinanyan, who was one of the guest speakers at the vigil, urged those present to keep on holding events like the vigil.

“The significance is still here, because you’re not only commemorating the Armenians killed in the genocide, but you’re also informing your students at CSUN,” said Sinanyan.

The atmosphere was passionate at times. The issue of Turkey’s denial of the Armenian Genocide was brought up.

“An apology does not come close,” said Sinanyan of Turkey’s refusal to acknowledge the genocide. “If someone breaks into your property, kills and rapes your wife and kids, and lives on your property for 100 years, saying sorry isn’t enough.”

Part of the reason that more awareness is common about the genocide is the continued efforts of informing others about it, said chemistry professor Gagik Melikyan, who spoke at the vigil.

“They hoped that we wouldn’t be able to raise children to teach them the responsibility to learn about the genocide,” said Melikyan.

Taking action is the first step, said Talar Alexanian, CSU Board of Trustees student trustee.

“All of you at the vigil have chosen to do something and reject apathy,” said Alexaninan.

The vigil ended with a moment of silence in commemoration of those killed during the genocide. Candles were handed out, and those present stood up. The room was packed, and a few people were standing in the back of the room. Most people had their head down and stood in silence.

Dashdemirians ended the night with an old expression said in Armenian: “We are here, we will be here and we will continue to grow!”

ICYMI: Photos from CSUN baseball’s 6-2 win against San Diego State

Ryan Raslowsky slides into base during their game against San Diego State. CSUN won 6-2 on April 21.

As CSUN faces UC Riverside Friday afternoon, here are photos from the Matadors game against San Diego State on April 21. CSUN won 6-2 as pitcher Joe Ryan earned his first victory.


CSUN’s On Point: April 21st, 2015

Title: Fear of the Unknown: Is Unconditional Love Really Unconditional?

On Point looks at why many, young people in particular, struggle with the consequences of coming out of the closet. With CSUN Pride Center Coordinator Sarina Loeb, Department of Social Work Professor Mark Abelson and LA LGBT Center’s Nia Clark.

Fitness Friday: let them drink wine and eat chocolate

Double dark chocolate bark with nuts and red wine make for great brain food. (Karen Elshout/St. Louis Post-Dispatch/KRT)

It is easy for someone on a strict diet plan to want to stray away from eating healthy greens all the time. As humans, we like to indulge and treat ourselves every now and again. Enjoying a sweet snack won’t be detrimental to your overall health, if done in moderation. However, there are two things people can indulge in that will actually promote their overall health: red wine and dark chocolate.

Prohibition was put to an end in 1933, and since then, people have been able to enjoy alcoholic beverages. Within the past century, however, alcohol has received a negative reputation because of the severe damages it does to the liver and when worse comes to worst, it can kill you if you intake too much at once, or even over an extended period of time. However, what many people are not aware of are the benefits alcohol has, other than the fact that it makes people feel good when enjoying the buzz.

The main benefit of alcohol in moderation is that it lowers the risk of coronary heart disease and decreases the development of atherosclerosis, which is the accumulation of fatty plaques in the blood vessels, particularly those that supply the heart.

In a Copenhagen City Heart study, 13,285 men and women were observed over the course of 12 years. In the study, the participants consumed 0-2 alcoholic beverages per day. A standard single drink measures around 1.5 ounces of liquor, five ounces of wine, or 12 ounces of beer. The study found that the risk for coronary heart disease decreased by 32 percent when consuming one to two drinks per day. The results suggested that people who drank red wine as their beverage of choice during this study had half the risk of dying from coronary heart disease or stroke, compared to those who never consumed wine. The participants that drank beer did not receive these benefits.

Although red wine is shown to decrease certain health risks, is must be done in moderation. Overindulging every now and again can be expected when celebrating or going out with friends and family, but if you are doing it purely for the purpose of extrapolating the health benefits of it, moderation is key.

Another thing people love to treat themselves to is chocolate. However, the health benefits are mostly found in dark chocolate. Cocoa is one of the best sources of antioxidants found on this planet. When factories add all the additional sugars that make certain chocolates taste sweet, it reduces the benefits.

Good quality dark chocolate, with a high percentage of cocoa, contains a significant amount of fiber, iron, magnesium, copper, manganese, potassium, phosphorus, zinc and selenium. Although a bar of dark chocolate may contain these things, there is still sugar added to these sweet treats, so it is also recommended that it be consumed in moderation.

Dark chocolate is also proven to promote blood flow and lower blood pressure. It contains nitric oxide, which sends signals to the arteries to relax, lowering the resistance of blood flow. With the increase in blood flow (on top of the fact that cocoa contains a caffeine stimulant), it is also linked to improvements in cognitive functions, verbal fluency and mental impairment.

Studies have also been conducted that revealed that those who ate dark chocolate five or more times per week over a fifteen-year period, lowered the risk of cardiovascular disease by 57 percent.

Although this may sound exciting, not all chocolate can be treated the same. These benefits will only be seen in quality dark chocolate with a 70 percent or higher cocoa content. The cheaper, more flavorful and sugary chocolate will not provide the same benefits.

So for those who think they can’t enjoy a sweet treat or celebrate life with alcohol every now and again, these are outlets that provide alternative healthy ways to indulge without overdoing it.

The GOP budget: forget the people, let’s amp up the military!

Photo credit: Kristine Delicana

Fund the military! Repeal ObamaCare! No new taxes! If the Republican Party had an official mantra, that would probably be it. The GOP-controlled Senate voted March 27 to push forward their budget – a budget that follows that mantra to a T.

Among other things, the proposed budget includes hefty spending increases to our defense programs, deep cuts to domestic social safety nets like Pell Grants and a paved path to the full repeal of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act, all without introducing any new taxes. The budget aims to decrease our nation’s deficit within ten years, but is cutting healthcare while beefing up the military (even further) really the right way to go about that?

I don’t know about you, but cutting things like financial aid for college students (which I, along with many of you, have depended on throughout our entire career in higher education), as well as access to healthcare for millions of Americans, while pouring more unnecessary money into defense spending is rage-inducing.

The Senate’s proposed budget, as well as the Republican-controlled House’s, intend to cut $90 billion from the Pell Grant program over the next decade. Students in this day and age are already finding it nearly impossible to pay for school without falling into inescapable debt, and now Republicans want to neuter a major source of aid for us.

According to Reuters, more than $5 trillion is set to be cut from domestic programs just like Pell Grant assistance and the Affordable Care Act, essentially dismantling President Obama’s healthcare reform if the Republican budget passes. This would leave over 25 million Americans uninsured, Americans, including myself, who could never dream of affording health insurance before the ACA.

Here’s an idea, GOP: instead of cutting programs Americans depend on, why not cut some money from our already-bloated military spending? Republicans in both chambers are even divided on the issue, but without the support and votes of major so-called “defense hawks,” the GOP budget would never have any hope to pass.

As of today, members of the Republican Party in both the House of Representatives and the Senate are negotiating their separate budgets in order to introduce a final, combined proposal. While the two chambers hoped to have their ultimate agreement on the table by April 15, it has yet to be completed.

Members from both the Democratic and Republican Party have criticized the House GOP’s budget as being “gimmicky,” with an over-reliance on rhetoric rather than offering actual, meaningful results, all falling back onto that mantra of “repeal ObamaCare and strengthen our military.” And it’s true, Republicans give us the what – cutting federal programs, boosting defense spending – but don’t detail the how. The budget looks to repeal the Affordable Care Act while still counting revenue from the law as if it were still in place. What?

We’ll see how Republicans in Congress manage to sort out this mess, if they can. But, like nearly everything else the GOP does, I expect their final budget to bank on empty, worthless talk without concrete solutions. After all, they have to keep that mantra alive.