The University Student Government (USG) is gearing up for the new academic year, with numerous projects and advocacies prepared for students. With upcoming changes in the University such as the student handbook revisions, the implementation of the K-12 curriculum, and the ASEAN integration, the USG is concentrating on offering activities that could benefit the University, in general, and that could make students more socially participative.
On external affairs and social issues
Vice President for External Affairs Mae Mae Gonzales shares that her office is eyeing the successful implementation of several initiatives this year. Her office’s projects include MRT and LRT ticket selling inside the DLSU campus and opening the ASEAN Youth Summit, where students from ASEAN partner countries will be invited to learn more on the upcoming regional integration.
Gonzales also assures that the USG advocacy calendar will be maximized throughout the academic year, properly streamlining all socio-civic initiatives that will promote sustainable yearly projects instead of short term, ad hoc projects.
“These (socio-civic) projects aim to emphasize the value of accountability and the realization of the students’ respective roles and impact on societal issues,” says Gonzales. The USG will collaborate with seven beneficiary communities as well as the Center for Social Concern and Action (COSCA) in planning these activities.
Addressing the disparity between increasing Lasallian graduates and the constant, if not decreasing number of employment opportunities offered to students, the office also wishes to expand external opportunities for career and academic development. The USG will partner with the National Youth Commission to augment the disparity. They also plan to offer more exchange programs and to make government-sponsored programs more accessible to students.
Improving student feedback
The USG will also push for student empowerment by constantly asking for feedback from students regarding facilities, academic, and enrollment concerns. More emphasis will be given on the student handbook revisions, which is being spearheaded by the Office of the Vice President for Internal Affairs (OVPIA) and the Legislative Assembly (LA). Through focus group discussions, surveys and coffee sessions with the students, the USG aims to touch base with its constituents.
USG President Carlo Inocencio adds that given the lack of consultations from students during the previous years, the USG will provide more avenues for students to give feedback and to express their concerns. “[We are not the only] representatives. We don’t decide for them, but we decide together with the student body,” he says.
Vice President for Internal Affairs Pram Menghrajani reports that the USG will conduct research on how DLSU’s facilities can be improved to make them more cost-efficient and environmentally friendly. Once the research results have been identified, the office will propose improvements and upgrades to relevant administrative units in the University.
A network of student governments of all La Salle schools in the Philippines will also be established, so all local Lasallian institutions could easily share resources and best practices with each other. Lasallian formation and association, as well as national awareness and involvement, are also being prioritized, says Inocencio.
Other student services programs such as the Pahiram Libro, Pahiram Payong, and Achiever Scholar Program will also be reviewed and revamped.
Zooming in: College level
The different college presidents have also unveiled their plans for their colleges this year. Regarding how their planned activities are in line with their respective platform disclosed during the previous General Elections (GE), Juancho del Rosario, College of Business (COB) college president says, “The platform for CGB this year is all about allowing Lasallian Business Students to realize the value of genuinely investing themselves in everything that this University has to offer them.”
In line with this, students will be given more avenues to apply their hard skills in real world situations this academic year. Del Rosario elaborates that his unit will increase such opportunities through the expansion of the AnimoBIZ program, in collaboration with the Campus Services Office.
College of Education (CED) College President Monique Ungco also reveals the career-oriented nature of her proposed activities for the college. She plans to concentrate on activities that will showcase the skills of her constituents and on opportunities where CED students could actually apply what they’ve learned in their classrooms to real life situations. Ungco also adds that she wants to offer activities that could motivate the college to excel further in their field.
Activities for College of Science (COS) students, however, are geared towards grassroots training and the creation of partnerships with outside institutions. COS College President Arianna Olis elaborates, “A participative partnership will mainly focus on student involvement in opportunities wherein their scientific insights will be applied, their research training is maximized, and their linkages with external institutions are established and strengthened.”
The college presidents also discussed how their upcoming projects compare to their predecessors. Del Rosario reports that during the previous year, the unit focused on creating “socially-conscious business students”. This year, the focus lies on creating a set of student innovators who are capable of the next big breakthrough, idea, or solution.
In addition, Ungco says that her unit wishes to continue strengthening the educator identity of the college, but also emphasizing that there are more career opportunities for CED graduates, apart from being teachers. She aims to improve CED engagement in community development projects offered by the school.
On the other hand, Olis reports that his predecessors focused on internal issues such as the revamping of the Saint Joseph Hall and its facilities last year. This year, the college’s goals are external-oriented. She mentions the Osaka Japan Exchange Program, among others, which COS students could apply for in order to improve their practical knowledge and to expand their network.
These are just some of the plans the elected USG officers are eagerly pushing for this academic year. Whether these activities are based on the platform they presented during the GE campaign last term, or these are based on research and student feedback, what constantly remains relevant is that these plans should center on student needs and development.