‘Integration’ has been the plan set for DLSU and its Science and Technology Complex (DLSU-STC), but the plans for creating a seamless physical integration between both campuses is a challenge that the University administration is still continuing to iron out, particularly for Student Affairs.
Starting this school year, student activities and programs will be held either simultaneously or subsequently of each other on both campuses. “The main thrust of Student Affairs is to provide a similar campus life experience to students from both campuses,” says Student Affairs Dean Fritzie de Vera.
Integrating student groups
Recruitment week for the University Student Government (USG), the Council of Student Organizations (CSO), and the Cultural Arts Office (CAO) are set to be held in DLSU-STC the week after they are held in the main campus. However, only the USG has been fully integrated in terms of standardized processes and procedures.
For the year, the actual turnover of responsibilities can only be done with the USG,” says Student Leadership, Innovation and Formation Office (Student LIFE) Director for Operations Ms. Jessica Jinete-Morales. “They have already revised the constitution, and had already made amendments before the elections.”
For the CSO, CAO and other offices under S-LIFE, Student Affairs is hoping that student groups take their own initiative to reach out and integrate with their STC counterparts. For some orgs of a common nature, what we’re saying to students is that they go through the process of integration at their own pace,” says de Vera.
“We make sure that students own that process of integration. We encourage them, but we try to facilitate them as adults. As much as possible, we want students to be more engaged in the integration process. We give them this year, you try to talk about it, we fuse them into one, we make sure both orgs are open to integration. Ayaw namin na hindi maganda ang process of integration.”
CAO Director Jill Samodio shares CAO’s current progress in integration: “This year we will be starting to implement the full program of the groups which do not have counterparts with the Manila campus, such as the Green Media Group and Lasallian Youth Orchestra. The dancers in STC will be absorbed by the three subgroups of the La Salle Dance Company (LSDC). The operations for Innersoul and DLSU Chorale are still in the planning stage.”
Most of the trainers will be taking on additional jobs DLSU-STC. There will only be one additional trainer we will be getting for LSDC Street; we will conduct recruitment in both campuses on the same week. The trainers from the Taft campus will come over to STC for training, but productions will mostly be staged at the Manila campus.”
For the CSO, however, only some student organizations that have their counterparts in DLSU-STC have already integrated, especially for shared programs of DLSU and DLSU-STC, such as Industrial Engineering. Jinete-Morales states, “For CSO, all that I am sure is integrated is the Industrial Management Engineering Society.”
According to her, CSO’s integration may be more complicated because the turning over of the org systems – especially the acceditation process – for both campuses has only begun this year. “For whatever [orgs] are existing there, they have to be merged by the end of the academic year. For orgs that do not exist there but have students taking up a course related to their org, they have to be brought there.”
“Org structure for the CSO EB has not yet been ironed out yet, but hopefully the benchmark would be how USG is. The idea is that they will have a CSO STC chair or co-chair. There is no final structure yet.”
De Vera notes that amidst everything, the integration is making headway in standardizing processes: “We also have to address different processes and procedures and we have to align with the integration. ID policy, cross-enrollment, things like that. We are in the process of talking about that; we are in year one, we are in the transition, we will make sure that those policies will be implemented.”
Currently, STC really has different processes in terms of activity approval,” adds Jinete-Morales. “The approving body is only the director, they don’t have a Department of Activity Approval or Monitoring, S-LIFE, meaning everything just goes through their director.”
An important facet of physically integrating the University’s separate campuses is the transportation. Effective this year, the University’s Campus Services Office contracted transport service Arrows Express to officially shuttle students from DLSU to DLSU-STC, and vice versa. “There is already a regular transport service,” “It carries students to DLSU-STC whenever there is an activity, and vice versa.”
With 39.3 kilometers separating the two campuses, the estimated travel time to DLSU-STC from the Taft campus is pegged at an hour under light traffic, based on estimates by driving personnel. The off campus travel is currently not covered by any form of parental waiver, as the campuses have deemed to be one physical entity.
De Vera says, “We treat it as another campus. Initially I consulted our previous University legal counsel, Atty. Sales, and he said we don’t need waivers if we have students going there because it’s like they’re just moving around the campus, it’s one University still.
“But of course we need to iron it out: how do we implement it? Do they need adult companions? We are in the process of consulting our new legal counsel, and we will also consult Atty. Christopher Cruz on that. We will also consult different councils, such as the Academics Council, about whether [students] need a waiver, and cross-enrolling, and things like that.”
Arrows Express service, however, has already been in operation beginning May 27, the start of classes, and has been transporting students without waiver forms. Prior to the arrangement with Arrows Express, last year, the DLSU shuttles headed to Canlubang required signed parental waiver forms.
“We tell students as of now, Atty Sales said hindi na kailangan, we no longer need [waivers]. Even Arrows Express has guidelines, they make sure you write on an embarkation card, so we know who rode the shuttle. We make sure we have due diligence, even if we consider STC as part of our campus, [that should always be present].
“Of course a lot of risks are present, baka nga high risk ang mga ganyan kasi they’ll be out of campus. We just need to understand it well as we make the formal guidelines, hopefully this week clear na yung policy. I will present to [the different councils] these things.”