Last January 28, heads of various student organizations, leaders from the Council of Student Organizations (CSO), the University Student Government (USG), and other special groups gathered at the USG Office for the Convention of Leaders (COLE) 2019.

The annual convention serves as an avenue for student leaders from different sectors of the University to discuss issues that cater to each of their unique needs and concerns within the Lasallian community.



Impact on organization participation

The first part of the event was a plenary session concerned with discussing two pressing University-related issues. According to USG President Gabbie Perez, these were the effects of the University (U Break) shift on the students and organizations, and the social engagement of students and organizations when national issues arise. The participants, who were all heads of their respective organizations, shared their experiences both from the perspective of a student and the perspective of a leader of an organization.

It was pointed out by Gokongwei College of Engineering College Academic President (CAP) Depp Depasupil that while many students were initially against the U Break shift, many have now adjusted to the new schedule. Aside from this, it was also pointed out by other participants that Mondays have become a day for studies or a day in preparation for school.

However, Ramon V. del Rosario College of Business CAP Isa Topacio shared that because she lives in a condominium near the University, she tends to go home on Saturdays, and then returns to her unit on Sunday night. This is the same case with many Lasallians and she argued that this resulted in less time with family. Another participant pointed out that Fridays are the worst time to go home due to traffic, which forces her and her friends to stay in Taft to wait until the jam lessens.



Speaking for their respective organizations, a consensus was agreed upon by the participantsit became more difficult to find time for implementing projects and activities after the U Break shift.  As most students use their free time to prioritize other concerns such as academics or family-related matters, participation in organization-related activities dwindled. Aside from this, many of the student leaders agreed that because only Mondays and Fridays are free for events, student groups have to compete for the available schedules.

However, not all organizations were troubled by the change; organizations under the Office of Sports Development expressed that they had found benefits in the new schedule as most matches and tournaments are held on Fridays or over the weekend. The U Break shift, they argued, gave athletes more time to practice for their competitions.


Less social engagement

The second issue discussed was the social engagement of organizations and of the larger Lasallian community. As Perez provided in the background of the issue, while attending a De La Salle Philippines event, she recounted that “One thing that they always said was, ‘bakit ang La Salle ay hindi masyadong maingay when it comes to national issues, protests, and rallies?’ It got me thinking, maingay naman tayo, just in our different sectors, and in our own different ways.”

(One thing that they always said was, ‘why aren’t Lasallians more vocal when it comes to national issues, protests, and rallies?’ It got me thinking, we are vocal, just in our different sectors, and in our own different ways.)

In response to this, various participants defended their organizations as to why they would seem “inactive” regarding national issues. They pointed out that not all members are aware of the issues at hand and that any statement released by their own group may conflict with Lasallian values or with the perspectives of their own members. To address this problem, it was suggested by the heads of Ley La Salle and the Economics Organization that there should be a system that every organization should follow when releasing a statement addressing a national issue.

With the concerns of the participants heard, Perez informed the audience that their concerns will be submitted to and discussed with the administration to hopefully address the issues raised. Participants were also advised to provide data to show concretely the impact of the U Break shift to their groups.



Breakout session

The other half of the event dealt with the specific concerns of special interest organizations. Two groups were formed in order to cater to the specific organizations. The first group tackled logistical concerns such as those involving procurement, while the second group brainstormed on services they could provide to the students and other organizations, as well as acknowledging problems or issues they are facing at present. Some of the common concerns raised were related to facilities such as distant storage rooms or broken locks, conflicts with rooms assignments, and the lack of available drinking fountains, among others.

As a result of these discussions, Perez promised resolutions to address the issues raised by leveraging on information dissemination through the different social media accounts of the USG and by preparing a report to highlight facilities concerns to the administration.

Ryan Lim

By Ryan Lim

Miguel Angelo Rabago

By Miguel Angelo Rabago

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