Editorial: Returns

A unit in DLSU costs Php 2,387. For 18 units’ worth of classes, the standard load of a DLSU student costs Php 42,966. Three years of this kind of eighteen units with miscellaneous fees amounts to more than half a million pesos.

For these hefty sums, parents would expect returns from the investment in a Lasallian education – a stable job and steady career, a network of Lasallian friends and associates and of course the exposure to a world-class education and its necessary facilities. To think that the parents of Lasallians would pay the kind of fortune unavailable to most Filipinos only goes to show how much a Lasallian’s worth would be in monetary terms.

This worth, as well as the returns on a Lasallian’s education, reveals itself much later on when the University’s graduates join the folds of organizations and professions as leaders and innovators. But the ultimate goal of Lasallians – to become resources for Church and nation – remains a challenge for which the entire community is responsible for in the activities its administrative and student units create.

What does it mean to be a resource for Church and nation? Granted, a resource is an asset that meets needs. In the classrooms and in the confines of the University the needs of the Church and nation only seem vaguely palpable, as discussed in lectures oriented on themes of community and NSTP.

But when Lasallians encounter the needy outside the University’s walls, the first instinct is to reel back in shock and detachment, to react as if those suffering, even dying, outside the University’s walls existed as a separate reality from the one Lasallians call their own. Given the undue focus on returns, the environment fostered in the University may not be the most stimulating for social concern and involvement. Lasallians, after all, are in University to receive a Lasallian education, bought at a price enough to make companies treat them as precious economic assets. The tendency is high for these assets to fail to see the concept of return other than a return on the investment in their personal and professional development.

Despite University efforts to expand its community engagement efforts and increase the number of these administrative and student unit initiatives by at least 50 percent, the more fundamental question of how to make Lasallians look after the last, the lost and the least persists. More than merely an investment into a brand, the Lasallian investment should also be an investment into the communion in mission, into the spirit of zeal for serving. Returns on investment should manifest themselves not just in personal and professional development, but also in a social development that is truly inclusive, that recognizes no walls between the University and the world.

Administrative and student units all have a responsibility for reshaping their notions of return and making the Lasallian investment count. As resources for Church and nation, student government, organizations, executive teams and even publications, who have organized into their own associations under their own missions, have to make sure that they are directly gearing their activities to helping not just the concept of a better world but the present reality outside the University’s walls. The formative activities, programs and publications, would be the real test of whether the community itself makes the investment in De La Salle yield the returns that matter.

The LaSallian

By The LaSallian

Leave a Reply