Nestled in the heart of Columbus, Ohio, Ohio State University (OSU) is a beehive of activity. With close to 60,000 students and over 1,000 student organizations, OSU certainly provides endless opportunity for involvement. Yet, for OSU’s large Macedonian-American student community, an organization representing them has been conspicuously absent at OSU — that is, until now.
The Macedonian-American Student Organization (MASO), a campus branch of the United Macedonian Diaspora’s young Macedonian leaders program — Generation M — will work to unite OSU’s Macedonian-American and friends of Macedonia student body and educate the OSU community about Macedonian culture, history, and heritage through charitable projects, workshops, and other activities. Through Generation M, MASO will have the opportunity to link up with other student organizations globally to learn best practices and to help Macedonia.
MASO’s first meeting on November 11, 2014 attracted a large attendance of both Macedonian-Americans and friends of Macedonia, of different cultural-ethnic backgrounds.
MASO’s first president Mario Hristovski, who was born in Bitola, Macedonia and came to the U.S. at the age of six, is confident and optimistic about MASO’s future. “The response has been amazing, not just at our meeting, but through our Facebook and Twitter profiles, which have increased by over 200% in just on day,” says Hristovski. “OSU’s highly-acclaimed Slavic Department has also reached out to us to provide additional support to MASO, and I believe this is because we are finally filling the void of a Macedonian-American student organization on campus.”
During the meeting, MASO members discussed plans for the future, including fundraising projects, and collaboration with other OSU student groups, particularly those who work on human rights issues, history, and cater to other cultural-ethnic communities. Second-year Arabic major and MASO member Connor Plensdorf noted, “it was refreshing to see a lesser known diaspora finally congregate and make plans to include people from any background. The fact that many non-Macedonians attended the meeting shows its inclusive native.”
Keeping in line with Generation M’s vision, networking and building leadership capacities will be one of MASO’s highest priorities. MASO hopes to organize events with guest speakers from various different fields like business, law, and medicine, among others. UMD Advisory Council Members Ambassador Ljubica Z. Acevska, and Thomas Taneff, one of Ohio’s top lawyers, are both OSU Alum.
“Witnessing the passion, enthusiasm, and dedication of these young leaders, especially Mario, gives me even greater hope for the global Macedonian community, Generation M, and UMD,” said UMD Co-Founder and President Metodija A. Koloski. “I commend them for bringing a piece of our ancestral homeland to OSU so that others can learn about our rich cultural and distinct heritage. I cannot be prouder.”