Since the tremendous drop of voter turnout in the 2015 General Elections (GE), the University Student Government (USG) has gradually regained its stature. The USG gained notable attraction from the student body as it pursued a student-centered campus for this academic year (AY) 2016-2017. As the incumbent USG officials near the end of their term, The LaSallian interviewed students from DLSU regarding their views on the USG’s performance this school year.
The importance of the USG
Students were asked to evaluate how the USG has represented the student body and how necessary the student government is to the University. Jamie* (III, BS-BIO) thinks that the USG is necessary as it is the “fundamental bridge of the students’ opinions to the University’s officers.” Luz (IV, AB-PSM) agrees that the USG does voice the concerns of the student body but needs to be reevaluated. “There are branches that are quite unnecessary,” she explains. Phoebe* (II, BS-LGL) shares the same sentiment, saying that “the same people are in power, and with the same usual vagueness of their roles and offices, we might need to microscale them.”
Antonio* (II, BS-CHE) also expresses his observation that students no longer trust the USG because of all the issues that surfaced in the past year. Benjie* (III, AB-CAM) believes that some elected officers are not using their power to its utmost potential to make changes and if they do, they misrepresent the student body. Benjie further explains, “If I’m not mistaken, [the] Legislative Assembly is formed of students who are basically the voice of their batch. It is in their mandate to come up with resolutions for what the University or batch needs or what they stand for. They should at least consult the batch to the best of their ability through research for the accuracy of their agenda.”
For the students who do not actively participate in University events, they claim they only see the USG as a group of people who remind them of dates and requirements. “To people like me, who don’t really participate in any University activities, maybe not so much other than the posting of reminders? I also haven’t really used any of the services they offer,” says Noah (II, BS-LGL).
On involvement and projects
A number of students gave positive insights for this year’s USG and how it has managed to make itself felt throughout the student body. John* (II, BS-ENT) notices a change in its system and explains, “They have been more active now as compared to when I was first in DLSU. They have slowly been improving despite not being perfect.” Nat Ermino (IV, AB-DSM) agrees and commends the USG’s participation in national issues, such as the Marcos burial and extrajudicial killings. However, she says, “The dissemination of information regarding the events linked to the issues were very poor.”
In terms of its student services and other projects, Jane (II, ISE-APC) and Jamie (III, BS-BIO) affirm that the USG has made an effort in reaching out and extending its scope of services. However, both mention that they have only been able to cater to the minority of the student population. The latter mentions that it is not enough, “In a sense that not a lot of students don’t participate if they don’t have to.”
In addition, Benjie* (III, AB-CAM) mentions that the current USG “performs, but not that well.” She adds, “I see their projects to be very activity-based. Nothing wrong with that, but I believe that [the] government body should focus on projects that are pro-student.”
Luz* (III, AB-PSM) attests an internal conflict in the student government, that its idea of being “One USG” has proven to be inefficient. “The works of every department are all piled up because they have to cater to five offices and that delays the work. For example, the creatives sometimes cannot give what the officers want because basically, they are not committed to every event.”
*Names changed for anonymity