Election after election, political parties, who eventually fill the seats in the University Student Government (USG), proclaim their standard and basis for which they want to pattern the USG – the Philippine Government. Focused on establishing their distinct brand of leadership, Lasallian student leaders attempt to inscribe their names in the legacy of its constitution, only to be dimmed by a distrust in the government.
The USG prides itself to be the epitome of student representation. However, like all student government units, the USG often finds itself at the cords with the DLSU administration. The institution dictates as it dictates, and the law is only as good as how you interpret it. The last thought may seem to be a nod to how the current administration is leading the country, but there is only truth in that. Oftentimes, one can only ever see what can be seen, and one can only see what needs to be seen when one delves deeper.
When Saint Anthony Tiu first pitched the idea back in 2003 to model the then Student Council to the Philippine Government, the rationale was only to emulate its structure to better cater to the needs of students, not to emulate its penchant for controversy as well. At the time, there was a growing need for the student government to move past simply creating activities and short-term projects, and instead focus on formulating policies and pushing advocacies. We needed a student government who provides opportunities and student representation, not just another system that entertains.
Fast forward to present day, and we see the USG has lost its way: numerous online campaign mishaps, mudslinging during the General Elections (GE), and a number of impeachment cases led in the last few years—this is just a small sample of the issues that has surfaced since then. While there have been projects that deserve the applause of many, one might be inclined to ask: why must we applaud an organization that does only the bare minimum of their tasks?
However, the USG is not entirely to blame. We have seen some of their units present many opportunities and programs to their constitution, and yet their participation is still at their lowest. Majority of the student government’s efforts often go to waste because no longer see these programs fit to their liking and/or needs. Even the recent turnout of the GE has shown that a large percentage of Lasallians do not even go out of their way to vote. How are we supposed to demand for efficient service then?
All of us are part of a greater system, together with the USG. No system can work properly with uncooperative parts. For something to achieve the fullest of its potential, we must stop neglecting what can be neglected, and instead cultivate and improve on these areas. For the student body to be able to reach its full potential, the USG must be willing to look at the root causes of limited communication, hindered growth, and lack of understanding.
To fully solve what is determined to be the problem, its source must be eradicated. In this case, it is the source of student apathy, stubbornness, and indifference that should be uprooted, and from there, reestablish the relationship of the student body with the USG.
Just because the USG has the same organizational structure as the Philippine government does not necessarily mean that it is a localized unit of it. But even so, it still has to prove to its constituents that it does not move to the rhythm of mismanaged governance.