When the 2018 General Elections concluded last August, the University Student Government (USG) saw a new set of officers take the helm, but at the time was incomplete. After Special Elections (SE) were held, most of what remained vacant were finally filled, along with the entry of freshman student leaders.

Six months after their appointment, several developments have been undertaken by the USG, such as the introduction of online undergraduate pre-enlistment and the opening of financial assistance programs, among others.

Yet, as a recent survey of 104 students conducted by The LaSallian revealed, some claim that they have not felt the impact of the plans and policies that the elected leaders promised they would set out to do.

A question of impact

Participants were asked whether or not they were aware of the progress made by the USG on their projects and initiatives. Though 29.8 percent of the respondents confirmed that they were aware of such developments, the remaining 70.2 percent said they were not, with lack of publicity on projects being some of the major reasons they raised.

Respondents were also asked to rate the impact the USG’s plans and policies had on them. Significantly, 33.65 percent were indifferent, while only 25.96 percent of respondents shared that they felt a large impact. In contrast to this, when asked whether the policies benefited their student lives, 53.85 percent of respondents agreed.

Each member of the USG Executive Board (EB) was also rated based on their performance for the first two terms of the academic year. While 26.92 percent of respondents were impressed by USG President Gabbie Perez’s performance, 36.54 percent gave her a neutral mark.

Further, 25.96 percent of the respondents were satisfied with the performance of USG Vice President for Internal Affairs Adrian Mendoza, while 39.42 percent thought it was average.

USG Vice President for External Affairs Adrian Asoy’s rating was mostly neutral, as an equal number of respondents said they were satisfied and unsatisfied with his work. Asoy was the last among the EB to assume office, having been appointed to the post only last January after his predecessor, former Arts College Government Student Services Chairperson Angeli Andan, was found guilty of gross negligence and incapacity to perform her duties in the previous term.

USG Executive Secretary Justeen Sy received mediocre marks, with 42.31 percent saying her performance was average, compared to the 25 percent who rated her positively. USG Executive Treasure Adi Briones was rated similarly, as 26.92 percent rated him and his performance as relatively good, while 41.35 percent thought it was middling.

Reflection of leadership

Exploring the struggles her current office experienced for the past two terms, Perez notes that despite her team being completed only after SE, their performance has “so far been good.” “We (my team) have actually been doing really well in terms of representation, which was the center of my platform,” she adds.

Sy, meanwhile, admits that she encountered delays and discloses that most of the projects presented during her campaign were sidetracked due to the USG’s instability during the first term. “Since there were so many things to fix internally in the USG, projects and initiatives were moved to Term 3,” she reveals.

Following Sy’s statements, Perez hopes that, with a complete team, they can finally start working on initiatives, with one of her current objectives being to remodel the image of the USG officers as good student representatives.

Wala na yung mga mema projects,” she assures.

(No more half-baked projects.)

The relationship of the student body and their respective student government has always been blurry, with Briones confessing that student apathy and USG responsiveness have always been perennial pain points. As executive treasurer, his plan of action is more on responding to the financial needs of students, taking inspiration from his predecessors’ previous initiatives.

“Instead of establishing [newer]programs, I focused on innovating and improving many existing programs,” he explains.

However, one new program in the works is the External Student Services, which aims to provide financial assistance to students who are having trouble with getting to school, such as in finding proper transportation methods.  He also adds that his office has made discussions on tuition fee increases more “student-driven” by disseminating surveys to analyze the University’s academics, campus services, facilities, and overall student life.

Reaching out

Manuel Santillan (I, CS) shares that his CATCH2T21 batch representatives always respond to his inquiries and make sure to provide definite answers. He adds, “[This] young group of batch representatives embody the needed attributes to lead a batch.”

On the other hand, Samantha*, a student from the Br. Andrew Gonzalez FSC College of Education (BAGCED), tries to weigh in on the actions her representatives have undertaken, stating that she does not feel much impact.

She cites that students frequently shift out of their college, but her college government is not at all alarmed by it. “They’re trying, [but] not hard enough to encourage students to stay in [BAGCED],” she argues.

‘How are you?’

“As fellow [students], we also feel and know the issues that need to be tackled,” Sy shares, stating that her office is gathering feedback on certain issues through the messages they have received from their official Facebook page. Other USG units, she adds, have also provided surveys for students to get a better general consensus.

“I do believe that students should also be comfortable in raising their issues to us because we do relate to these problems as well,” she expresses.

Sharing the same sentiments with Sy, Perez recalls launching a survey asking students to share their experiences within the University. This, among other initiatives, was one of the ways they determined could decrease student apathy, Perez says.

After receiving an overwhelming number of responses, the project was turned into a “reporting system,” according to Perez. She also notes that students appreciated the fact that they were asked about their life on campus. She surmises, “Maybe the USG’s approach to communication [has] been too distant from the student body, when in fact all you have to ask is ‘How are you?’”

The LaSallian reached out to Mendoza for comments but he has yet to respond to the publication’s request as of press time.

*Names were changed for anonymity.

Bea Francia

By Bea Francia

Isabela Marie Roque

By Isabela Marie Roque

Enrico Sebastian Salazar

By Enrico Sebastian Salazar

Contributor of University and Vanguard since TLS 58. Internal Development Manager in TLS 59. Currently designing the new website.

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