October 14, 1998
Do you remember the events of 1988? The Olympics were in Seoul, South Korea. The United States had troops in Europe in case trouble in eastern European countries erupted in the twilight of the Cold War. Republicans were making noise in Washington with the successful election of President George Bush. And a handful of Greek students on the UCLA campus came together and embarked on an unlikely journey with the formation of the Hellenic-American Students' Organization.
It amazing how little has changed in ten years. In 1998, the Olympics were again in Asia, as the Winter Games were held in Nagano, Japan. The United States just sent troops to Europe in case trouble erupts in war-torn eastern European countries. Republicans are again making noise in Washington with the possible impeachment of Bill Clinton. And on the UCLA campus, Greek students are coming together and continuing on this unlikely journey, as they carry HASO into the 21st century.
Why an "unlikely" journey? Could any one of those founding members have known, that their small band of students would mature into what is now, an internationally recognized, cultural and educational establishment? In these ten years, HASO has grown and developed at an unbelievable rate, but the premise on which it exists has never wavered; to provide a social, cultural, and educational outlet for Greek and Greek-American students, and to promote the spirit of Hellenism at UCLA, and in the greater Los Angeles community.
The reason for HASO's success is activity. Well, most organizations simply mull around with little to no excitement, HASO has always been in the fast lane, with events throughout each year, in order to continue to bring Greek students together. HASO has always prided itself on being able to interact with the cultural, political, and social aspects this is, Greek life, whether it is socializing with Ambassadors and Governors or simply cooking up mouth-watering gyros for the entire campus to enjoy, the Greek students at UCLA are always in motion.
HASO established itself on campus during UCLA's Mardi Gras. Mardi Gras was a carnival-type event with proceeds going towards UCLA's charity, Unicamp. Various clubs and organizations would operate the different attractions and concessions. During Mardi Gras, HASO sold gyros, and every year that HASO was there, it would receive the Best Food: Small Booth Award, which went to the booth that had the highest sales. In fact, in some years, HASO generated the most money for Unicamp than all of the booths and attractions, whether food-based or not, gaining recognition as a serious and well run organization.
HASO has bridged the gaps between students and professors as well, with the Annual Professor-Student Social. The event, now entering its 5th year, was designed to introduce Greek students to the Greek professors on campus, and more importantly, to introduce these professors to each other. The Social has become the cornerstone of HASO's event calendar, and now has an appeal that reaches outside UCLA as members of the Greek community now take part it what is probably one of the university's best club-organized academic events.
HASO solidified its presence on campus, and in the Los Angeles community when Ambassador of Greece to the U.S., Lucas Tsilas, who was invited by HASO, came to speak to us in an event at the James West Alumni Center. The event was of such significance, that a Political Science professor made it a requirement that his class attend it, and it received front page news on UCLA's Daily Bruin newspaper.
There would be no way to include all that HASO has done in this small article. WorldFest, H@SO Online, Aegean Waves, Parthenon Day, and various nights on the town, are only a small portion of what HASO is, and what HASO does. This Organization has come a long way in the past 10 years, but it is only a beginning. HASO will continue to grow and continue to strive to bring Greek students together as it carries onward into the new millennium.
For the last two years, the UCLA Hellenic-American Students’ Organization has given out the “Spirit of Perikles Award" to those individuals who, through their actions, have had the greatest impact on our community. It is named after Perikles, the famous statesman of classical Athens who, among many achievements, was responsible for building the Parthenon on the Athenian Acropolis—still the most widely recognized symbol of Greek civilization.
The first “Spirit of Perikles Award" was given to UCLA history professor Dr. Mortimer Chambers in 1997 in recognition of his great enthusiasm for the Greek culture and civilization and his constant effort to share this enthusiasm with his students. For over 30 years, Dr. Chambers has taught Ancient Greek History at UCLA (History 116A & B, Classics 10) and every summer he leads an intensive foreign study program in Greece where students are taken to countless ancient sites as part of their curriculum. Dr. Chambers is a fixture at UCLA and a true philhellene!
This past spring, we gave the “Spirit of Perikles Award" to the chair of the UCLA Classics department, Dr. Sarah Morris. As chair of the department, Dr. Morris has worked hard to bring more students into the Classics. Also she is currently spearheading an effort to bring modern Greek language courses to UCLA. This is a very challenging endeavor and we applaud Dr. Morris for all her work.
This year, the HASO will once again present the “Spirit of Perikles Award" to a distinguished member of our community. If you would like to nominate anyone for this award, please contact the club at email@example.com.
On June 6th this past spring, Westwood's Gypsy Cafe was taken over by young Greeks, dancing and singing along with the fabulous sounds of rebetika music played by the "Plakopetralonikiotes". By all accounts the night was a smashing success!
The Gypsy Cafe was filled over capacity as more than 80 young "rebetes" squeezed into the smoky "teke" (the name for the old hash dens where rebetika music was played). For a small cover charge the fun included great music, dancing, a delicious meal, and all the wine you could drink. For the "hasiklides" there were even two bubbling "argiledes" (hash-pipes), filled with prime quality strawberry hashish (not the real stuff!).
The highlight of the night came when the room was suddenly flooded with miniature "defia" (tambourines) and everyone got to play along with the musicians while crowding the floor to dance tsifteteli. People even danced on the tables and the chairs. Thanks to musicians Yiannis Mastrodimitris (bouzouki), Patroklos Mavromatis (lead vocals & guitar), and Stelios Zerefos (keyboards) the music played on well into the night (past 3:00 am).
If you missed it, don't feel too bad. These three musicians and their band will be playing together once again in mid-November. This performance, titled "Let's go to the Bouzoukia," promises to be the most awesome and most authentic "Greek night" that Los Angeles has seen yet! Fans of real Greek music, keep your ears open--more information will be available soon.
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