The Lasallian Enrichment Alternative Program (LEAP), a now decade-old Lasallian tradition, is an annually conducted whole-day event where undergraduate students are given the chance to attend on-campus or off-campus activities as an alternative non-academic class.
LEAP has been successful in teaching students lessons beyond the classroom’s four walls. Whether sitting through a movie marathon or hiking mountain peaks, a range of classes are offered, ensuring to tap every interest of the Lasallian community. “[The] classes are organized by the students, [and] for the students,” Janine Belviz, one of LEAP 2017’s project heads explained. “The ideas of specific LEAP classes stem from the imagination and objectives of those students who willingly assume the role of class head. Each class head may pick from a wide array of categories, and from their resources at hand, they may create a LEAP class that is aligned to the objectives of the category they have chosen,” she added.
In the past years, students have been offered classes that focused on various interests, including music and dance, sports and fitness, socio-civic activities, culinary, social media, production, business, among others. In addition, LEAP also gives way for students to be up close and personal with notable speakers such as Karen Davila, Ramon Bautista, Gia Sison, Joyce Pring, and Jasmine Curtis.
Where it all began
LEAP can be traced back to its roots in 2001, made possible by the concerted efforts of the Student Council (SC, now the USG), the Council of Student Organizations (CSO), the Culture and Arts Office (CAO), the sports teams, the Student Media Office (SMO) and the political parties, spearheaded by the Office of the Vice President for Activities. Julie Domino, one of the founding organizers of DLSU LEAP, says that the commencement of alternative classes was driven by the urge to build an opportunity to learn things beyond the confines of the classroom.
It originally consisted of classes with topics on alternative medicine, modern technology, political trends, love and relationships, occult and the psychic world, among many others. Even with the unfamiliarity of the student body towards LEAP classes, Domino says that their response was overwhelming during the pilot testing of the program. “Most of the students welcomed the idea. They participated and really attended their respective enrolled classes,” she shares.
However, behind the success, Domino reveals that the founding organizers experienced a rough road getting the project off the ground. The challenge was to get the administration’s approval in allowing a day-off from the academic calendar to give way to alternative classes.
“We [had] to prove to them that the project will benefit the students, and that the organizers will make sure school rules will not be circumvented. I think trust between the student [organizers] and the administration was [a key factor], especially since it was the first time for us to do such a big event,” she says. Once the agreement between the administration and the organizers was secured, the next problem was logistics and operations. “There were 6,000 students and we only [had] a fixed number of venues. Good thing the school administration at that time was very cooperative,” she explains.
LEAP 2018: PiLEAPinas
This year’s LEAP revolves around the Philippines as a concept, with the tagline “Harapin ang Kinabukasan ng Kahapon.”
In an online interview with Zeanne Garcia, Steff Diño, Marc Uy, and Felicci Lara, the respective project heads for this year’s LEAP share that “the tagline reflects that despite the current social issues that we, Filipinos, are experiencing, this will serve as an avenue for Lasallians to awaken their hearts to go back to their roots of being Filipino and [look back at] their humble beginnings.”
Moreover they share that they envision PiLEAPinas 2018 to not only impact the University, but also the Philippines in general. “We want to strengthen the communication between the LEAP 2018 Central Committee, the organization representatives, and class heads when it comes to information dissemination, [which is] why we have more than 20 class coordinators,” they added.
As for the respective classes that will be offered this year, Garcia points out that the project heads want Lasallians to go beyond their imagination and to maximize their creativeness to conceptualize classes that promote the Filipino culture. “We encourage them to offer classes that can allow students to learn while enjoying. Classes that highlight the culture, beliefs, values, traditions, and social issues here in [our country]. We also encourage organization representatives and class heads to organize classes that would recognize “Filipino Pride” or “Pinoy Pride” by inviting Filipinos who excel in different fields such as arts, business, economics, and science and technology [respectively]. Lastly, service-driven initiatives that are sustainable are highly recommended for class heads. These initiatives can greatly impact Filipinos, which they can use to advance their lives,” she emphasizes.
In relation to the process of organizing a LEAP class, Diño shares that it starts with the brainstorming of the class heads for quality classes that the students will enjoy. “The class proposal sheet is where all the details of the class will be inputted, like the title and genre of the class. Also, there are questions to be answered briefly for us to gauge the nature of the class. After the class proposal sheet gets approved, there are additional documents that need to be passed depending on the type of activity, like the pre-activity requirements for some student groups. Workshops will be conducted for students who are interested in organizing a class,” she clarifies.
With regard to the changes among the respective classes, the project heads share that the classes are proposed every year by the different organizations and units concerned. “In line with this, LEAP classes are subject to change every year depending on the theme, in which the LEAP Central Committee thought of, and the wants of the class heads. The LEA awards night is in partnership with LEAP so classes are most probably aligned with the awards to be given out by the LEA central committee. Moreover, new presidents, officers, and members will have the chance to voice out their ideas on how they want their LEAP classes to be. Lastly, surveys from the past LEAP 2017 will aid the units and organizations concerned regarding their SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) analysis from the recent year,” they convey.
When comparing LEAP 2001 to its recent LEAP years, one notable difference was the enrollment system. Compared to an internet-based enlistment through animo.sys, the original scheme involved students to physically falling in line to enroll in a chosen LEAP class. “We came up with a drop box system where students can drop a piece of paper containing their first ten preferred classes for that day. Then, we have to hook up a system with the school’s IT department so we can text each and every student on details of the classes that they were enrolled in, the venue, and the time,” Domino says.
Fifteen years ago, the founding organizers envisioned LEAP to continually progress in the following years. From alternative classes limited in the vicinity of the campus, today LEAP has evolved more than ever. It fulfills the University’s vision of building a community of leaders who are actively participating in improving the quality of life in the Philippine society, within the perspective of Christian ideals and values.