60-40: Breaking down student org project priorities

From the beginning of the school year through to the week before finals, booths are set up along University lobbies and covered walkways to promote the various events of the different organizations, ranging from inter-school congresses to year-end parties to fundraising booths.



Student organizations are allowed to hold up to four fund raising activities (FRAs) throughout the school year, with a maximum of three held in one term. In addition, any activity not initially declared an FRA will be declared such if it makes a profit of at least P8,000. Business Management Society President Mary Anne Lu (IV, BS-APC) relates that “Organizations are only allowed to have a maximum of four fund raising activities…  With this, we have to really make the most out of the fund raising activities we implement.

The University allows a variety of FRAs, including movie screenings, selling of novelty items, selling or distribution of academic kits, and raffles. Shirt selling remains to be the most common type of FRA implemented by the different organizations, primarily because of the ease with which funds are raised.

“Those fundraising activities are necessary for the survival of the organizations… The problem is that most orgs only rely on t-shirt selling and partying,” laments fourth year psychology major Carlos Roxas, “Perhaps [these are] the most effective.”

The nature of the FRA is often subject to the nature of the organization. “We usually sell items that are needed for bio acads, for example, dissecting kits,” shares Societas Vitae (SV) President Zara Salazar (II, BS-BIO).


The ’60-40 Rule’

The funds raised by organizations in their FRAs are used to support their events throughout the academic year. At least 12 organization-related activities are held in the University every week. According to the Council of Student Organization (CSO), the process of choosing what activities to hold entails multiple stages of planning.

The officers of a particular organization must first submit their first draft of the Goals, Objectives, Strategies and Measures (GOSM) to CSO a few months before the start of the next academic year. The draft will be subject to either revisions or approval. Should the proposed activities be approved, CSO will present the list of submitted and approved GOSMs of activities for the coming academic year the different organizations meeting with the University Student Government (USG), which is set to help them streamline activities for the whole academic year.

“In terms of choosing what activities to allow and approve, our main priority is to stick with the nature of organizations,” says Justin Sy, CSO Vice Chair for Internals and Executive Board In-charge of the Activities Monitoring Team (AMT). “We have a ‘60-40 rule’. Wherein 60 percent of the activities should be in-line with the nature of their organization, while the remaining 40 percent will be with their own choice,” he adds.

Paula Deinla, Team Head of the CSO AMT says that submission of the GOSM allows CSO to assess the organizations’ adherence to the 60-40 rule. Meanwhile, it was clarified that CSO will never penalize an organization going against the said rule. “We don’t want to pull down the organization just because there are penalties due to that reason that they disobeyed the ’60-40 rule’,” says Sy.


Quality, not quantity

CSO emphasized their role as was to guide organizations, and that it would never interfere in the organizations’ decision-making, especially in terms of choosing what activities and how many activities to hold. “The factor is quality over quantity, that’s why it is crucial to have an AMT,” says Sy.

The problem with setting policies regarding the number of activities to hold per year or even per term is that some organizations might fail to adhere to it because of having fewer members, which might result in difficulties when organizing multiple events, and also because quality of activities may be compensated in the attempt to meet the required number.

Even AMT’s basis in accrediting organizations in terms of activities held for the year varies depending on how big an organization is. “We try to adjust to the number of members of an organization. [Smaller organizations] tend to have smaller members, and it would be hard for them to reach a certain target which is the same with other big organizations,” Sy says.

Though there is neither minimum nor maximum number of activities an organization needs to hold, CSO assures that organizations’ activities are monitored so that they always cater to their members, wherein the process of determining this is where AMT plays a crucial role.


The usual activities

Organizations officially listed under CSO are further subdivided into three: professional organizations, socio-civic organizations, and special interest (SPIN) organizations. Its classification also tells what kind of activities these organizations normally hold.

“As a professional organization, we focus on academic activities. We are especially proud of our flagship activity, the Young Economists’ Convention series,” tells EconOrg President Jin Ong (V, AE-APC), “They are normally open to all. Members are normally given discounts to some events which require payments or tickets.”

Lu also shares, “BMS has different kinds of activities that would all lead to the fulfillment of the 4 pillars of our vision, namely – academic excellence, personal development, social responsibility, and organizational innovation.  Various activities cater to such to ensure the holistic development of our members.”

Aerielle Aguda, member of the College of Education’s professional org United, shares, “Mostly, the activities of our org are for teaching… We do a lot of outreach programs and fundraisers for students who are less fortunate. I like taking part in these kind of activities because I feel fulfilled somehow.”

Some presidents of various organizations, however, lament that encouraging students to be constantly active and involved in the organizations’ activities continues to be a challenge. One such student is Mia Nunga (II, BS-ENT), who says that joining orgs would only add to weight to workload, “I think my workload for academics is already enough to keep me busy and balance my life [as in my] studies and social life.”

Sophomore Jansen Uy (AE-LGL) observes, “I think there should be an improvement… [so that students] are encouraged to participate. They need to be more active in the activities being organized for them. [Students] just don’t know, but there are a lot of activities, like seminars, that just go to waste due to the lack of participants.”


APS’ and AMT’s role

To help the CSO in preparation, implementation and documentation of the activities of the accredited organizations, seven Executive Teams work under the supervision and assessment of the CSO Executive Board.

The Activity Processing and Stamping Team (APS) is one out of the seven CSO Executive Teams. The APS approves selected on-campus activities, processing of pre-activity requirements and facilitating the stamping of all publicity materials of all accredited organizations.

Meanwhile, it is already the work of Activity Monitoring Team (AMT) to maintain the quality of activities of student organizations through giving concrete but helpful criticisms. This is done through the accomplishment of evaluation forms.


Other universities

In Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU), similar processes and structures are observed. The CSO counterpart is called the Council of Organizations in the Ateneo (COA), the working arm of ADMU’s student government in regulating activities of accredited organizations.

Organizations are classified into one of nine different clusters, and the nature of activities is reflected in the cluster it falls under. There is typically one flagship project open to all students, and other smaller projects for members’ development. Fundraising activities usually employed include bake sales, shirt selling, ticket sales, and even garage sales.

Meanwhile, in the University of the Philippines Dilman (UP), organizations are supervised by the student councils of different colleges, but mostly operate independently. Seminars and outreach variants are some events that are commonly held, and fundraising activities often include shirt selling and food selling.

Dana Uson

By Dana Uson

CJ Cachola

By CJ Cachola

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