Since 1974, the Council of Student Organizations (CSO) has dedicated itself to providing student services to the University through the activities of accredited professional student organizations. Branded as the governing body handling 40 student organizations, the CSO has continuously been producing model student leaders dedicated to serving the Lasallian community through lobbying efficient student services and respective projects.
Every year, the CSO reaccredits its organizations, following certain criteria to ensure that it is able to continue providing the same level of services following the tradition of excellence in academics and co-curricular activities of the University.
Alignment with University and internal policies,
According to the 2015-2018 Student Activities Manual, the CSO Re-accreditation Committee is composed of all Executive Board (EB) members of the council itself, a representative from the Office of Student Leadership, Involvement, Formation, and Empowerment (SLIFE), and a representative of student affairs from the Science and Technology Campus (STC).
CSO Chairperson Jayrene Cruz explains that “the purpose of the reaccreditation process of the Council of Student Organizations serve as a performance evaluation that ensures that the quality of services and activities that the organizations provide their members are exemplary, that the activities of the organizations are aligned with the University’s mission, and that the organization is able to tap on the University’s Key Resolve Areas.”
In line with this, CSO-member organizations must follow several policies of reaccreditation outlined in the 2015-2018 Student Activities Manual. They must undergo and pass reaccreditation once every academic year, with the passing rate of 75 percent based on a rubric that can be found in Appendix II of the 2015-2018 Student Activities Manual. In line with this, the student manual states that “only approved activities are accredited and are considered during the reaccreditation”.
Given this, organizations that fail reaccreditation will undergo probation in the next academic year, and those that fail two consecutive years will need a score of 80% in order to avoid a one-term suspension. All accredited student organizations must always have successors to their executive board and must at least have fifteen members in their team. Meanwhile, newly-accepted organizations fall under probation for one year and must pass re-accreditation or else will cease to be recognized.
In cases of intentional misrepresentation of documents however, the violating organization will be suspended from operating for the rest of the year and from receiving awards, and will also have a probationary status in the succeeding academic year. Likewise, failure to present on specified dates by the reaccreditation committee warrants a probationary status in the succeeding academic year and a possible one-term suspension as well.
The standards the CSO bases its reaccreditation on are specific to its goals and the University’s goals, and differ from the standards used by other student organizations in DLSU. “We believe that other organization sectors in the University have their own methods of evaluating the performance of their accredited organizations,” Cruz clarifies.
The reaccreditation process
The CSO makes it a point to monitor its organization’s performance levels. Cruz narrates that every term, the organizations are given termly grades concerning their pre-activity, post-activity, and finance requirements as well as an opportunity for consultation. “This year, CSO is including the grades of Activity Monitoring Team, and Organizational Research and Analysis Team in the consultations. In all, the re-accreditation grade consists of grades from the following teams: APS, ADM, FIN, AMT, ORGRES, and PNP,” she adds.
The reaccreditation happens during the third term break. Organizations are given the opportunity to report on their projects from the recently concluded year to a panel headed by the CSO chairperson. The panel, in turn, will share insights on the grade they have given to the organization.
The reaccreditation process follows a certain model provided for by the CSO which highlights eight key areas of assessment and indicates their equivalent weight in the overall grade. First, the organization needs to show a clear sense of purpose, which merits ten percent. This encourages a clear provision of the organization’s mission, vision and objectives in the activities they provide the students. The members’ and organizational involvement key area, which grades 15 percent, emphasizes active participation from the members and the organization being involved with internal and external linkages. The model likewise highlights an alignment of the organization’s purpose with their activities, which total to ten percent. Furthermore, the CSO encourages quality activities implemented to ensure that the organization leaves an impact to its members, which grades the organization 15 percent.
The fifth criteria focuses on financial management, which amounts to ten percent of their grade, and looks into how the organization monitors, generates and allocates their budget efficiently. An efficiency of processes, worth another ten percent, is further urged by the model. Punctuality and completeness of processes will be specifically looked into during the reaccreditation. Personal and organizational leadership, a 15 percent aspect, is another vital avenue highlighted by the model. The reaccreditation committee will examine trainings provided for the organization’s student leaders, division of tasks for the officers and succession of programs of the organization.
The last key area stressed in the reaccreditation model is “Lasallianness,” or the embodiment of the fundamentals of Lasallian characteristics that highlight the importance of faith, service, and communion, which comprises of 15 percent. This aspect points toward the organization’s commitment to providing engagement activities which reflects the mission, vision and ideals of the University. The general weighted average will be added with the percentage of assessment given by a faculty adviser, which gives an additional five percent.
Cruz iterates, “Organizations that do not pass the reaccreditation are given a probationary status the following academic year. This year, we have two probationary organizations.” On the flip side, she also shares that the CSO offers incentives to reaccredited organizations beyond the details listed in the reaccreditation model.
One popular organization that almost failed to pass the last re-accreditation is AISEC, an international development and career-related organization that also operates in DLSU. Cruz shares that although they passed, a lack of community engagement and spiritual growth activities contributed to their low grade, especially since those two aspects hold a large percentage due to their alignment with the University’s mission.
The organizations in the CSO follow an official sixty-forty ratio of activities. Sixty percent of the organization’s activities must assist students and graduates in their academic performance and in their careers. The sixty percent also reflects organizational activities, which are not directly academic in nature, but also serve to fulfill the purpose of the organization.
The remaining 40 percent are community and student oriented activities that are not listed in the 60 percent. The 2015-2018 Student Activity Manual states, “These activities fall under the activity natures of Organizational Development, Outreach, Community Development, Lasallian Formation/Spiritual- Renewing, Student Services and Special Interest.”
Special Interest (SPIN) and Socio-Civic and Outreach (SCORE) organizations also follow a similar ratio.