Last term marked the beginning of the first run of the Rationalized Utilization (RCU) scheme. Designed primarily as a response to the increasing student density in the University, the new scheme should reduce the classroom utilization rate from 92.81 percent to 77.88 percent. However, the program has led to several social costs.
Coping with changes
The RCU paved the way for the six-day class schedule; the question of whether students can still strike a balance between their academic life and social life despite their demanding schedule is becoming an issue.
In an informal survey conducted by The LaSallian, 61 percent of the 193 respondents answered that the new scheme made it more difficult for them to cope with their academic requirements. Only 19 percent said that the new schedule helped them with their academics.
Diana San Diego (III, BCHEM), shares that the new schedule has given her less time to review for her subjects. Mau Manuel (IV, MKT) also believes that students are more stressed because of the new scheduling of classes since some will have to go to school for six days.
The RCU also poses problems to student organizations. With six days of classes, student organizations had difficulties in scheduling their activities. The University Break from 2:30 pm to 5:00 pm on Wednesdays was created to address this problem, but some student organizations share that this is not sufficient.
Timmy De Lemos, President of the European Studies Association (ESA) claims, “We are all competing for that one time slot, once a week.”
At times, extra-curricular activities come into conflict with academic schedules, as some professors schedule make-up classes and other academic activities.
Some organizations schedule their activities on the morning, even with the presence of the University Break; classes still continue to overlap with organization activities.
Angela Go, President of Electronics and Communications Engineering Society (ECES), mentions that it is now more difficult to schedule activities because there are conflicts with students’ classes.
Since most upperclassmen have four days of classes, there is little incentive for them to attend activities on their break day.
More than half of the respondents believe that it becomes difficult for them to be active in their respective organizations. Most encounter conflicts with their class schedules.
Data gathered by the USG also shows that students cite the drastic increase in their everyday expenses as a problem.
Aside from the students, concessionaires around campus have to adjust to the new program. Byron Co, Operations Manager of Animo Food Haus, explains that the cafeteria extended its working hours in response to the RCU. He adds that he observed larger sales, but admits that it cannot be completely accounted to the program as he also considered the closure of SPS Student Lounge as another cause.
Achieving its original goals
In the aforementioned survey, 48 percent of respondents rated the RCU as poor. Moreover, 72 percent of respondents believe that the RCU failed to achieve its goal to address the problem of congestion in the University.
They reasoned out that some areas in the campus are still very crowded such as the elevators in Br. Gonzalez Andrew Hall and St. Joseph Walk. They also noted that concessionaires around campus are usually crowded during break times.
Dean of Student Affairs Fritzie De Vera says that the RCU is under evaluation. On the second term, there will be a comprehensive evaluation and to prepare for this, feedback from the students, faculty and administration are being gathered.
When asked about their take on the implementation of the RCU, both the Vice Chancellor for Administration, Agnes Yuhico and RCU Committee Chair Dr. Gerardo Janairo refused to comment as they believe it is still too early make an evaluation.
DLSU President and Chancellor Br. Jun Erguiza said that he has not seen the RCU address the congestion problem in DLSU. As a result, he is asking the administrators to reevaluate its implementation.