The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has rendered physical face-to-face sessions impossible this Term 3. Yet that has not stopped the University from pushing through with student activities. Last August 24 to 28, the Lasallian Enrichment Alternative Program (LEAP), themed LEAP into Art, offered students a myriad of alternative classes held through webinars and activities on Zoom and other platforms.
Beyond simply affording students an avenue to learn about topics not typically tackled in their coursework, this year’s LEAP also opened opportunities for the Lasallian community to help Lasallian-owned enterprises amid the COVID-19 crisis by partnering with De La Salle Philippines’ Kada-Uno initiative.
In contrast to previous years, this year’s LEAP opened itself to three different types of activities: alternative classes, the mainstay of LEAP, albeit held in an online setting; publication activities, where infographics and illustrations posted on the LEAP Facebook page took the place of actual seminars; and video game tournaments.
Artworks by Lasallian artists were showcased through Lasallian Art of the Day in the event’s official Facebook page. Users were allowed to request commissions from the artists. At the same time, an online gallery, hosted on Google Sheets, consolidated all of the participating artists’ information.
Lasallian-owned businesses such as The Ube Factory and Celeste Manila received a feature on the page as well. Partner businesses were listed in a public information sheet, allowing students to freely browse.
Five different themes also graced each day of the week-long event, with the first day, Monday, August 24, being Student Entrepreneur Day, which focused on activities catering to students who want to start a business, with LEAP classes like the Behavioral Sciences Society’s (BSS) Discover businesses with BSS, a publication activity promoting local business startups.
The second day was Wildcard Day, giving focus to film showings and hobbies like drawing, with classes like Draw-ENG: An Engineering Drawing Tutorial, presented by the Mechanical Engineering Society.
Esports made their way to the scene on Wednesday, with competitions for video games like Call of Duty: Mobile and Mobile Legends: Bang Bang organized by the Civil Engineering Society and Management of Financial Institutions Association, respectively.
The fourth day of LEAP served to highlight environmental awareness and climate issues with activities led by the likes of the Outdoor and Environmental Club. To cap off the week, the DLSU Green Tankers team captained Physical Fitness Day, hosting a workout session for their LEAP class.
Unlike previous years, students were not required to enlist in a class via My.LaSalle (MLS). Additionally, students were not limited to just one class. LEAP2020 Project Head Sean Palaypay shared that enlisting on MLS was “disregarded” as attendance for LEAP classes was not mandatory and that online classes continued through the week.
LEAP classes were also in no danger of being dissolved for lack of attendees, and only those with unaccomplished pre-activity requirements had been dissolved.
The weeklong experience, however, remained the most marked change to the event. “[It] was definitely something new; LEAP is usually known as the [single] day you get to take an alternative class,” remarked Lasallian Scholar Society (LSS) President Samantha Maxine Santos.
However, some of the changes to LEAP presented bigger challenges to some of the class heads. LEAP Class Head for Santugon sa Tawag ng Panahon Billie Lardizabal said that the new format pushed her to innovate. “It was quite stressful because my partner and I were still figuring out exactly what we wanted [our] new [LEAP] activity to be,” she lamented that the in-campus talk they had been proposing last term was no longer possible given the current situation.
Instead, Lardizabal and her co-class head Bianca Manese came up with an activity that was “flexible and interesting enough for the students”, resulting in LEAP2020: Publikha. The class aimed to teach students on using social media in highlighting social issues in the country. Lardizabal considered the event “successful”, as it garnered more than 70 participants last August 25, and even remarked that it was “better than we could’ve probably ever done face-to-face.”
Santos shared similar experiences with Lardizabal; her organization, LSS, had its Scholars’ Week event canceled last March due to the suspension of classes. With this, they decided to adjust and integrate their Scholars’ Week plans—which was moved to Term 3—into their LEAP activities.
“We were so surprised [with our] pre-registration,” expressed Santos—adding that they were able to garner more than 550 registrants for their LEAP class, Social Media 101 Zoom webinar: REACH AND RETURNS—featuring social media personality Mark Averilla, popularly known as Macoy Dubs.
Santos added, “We [even] borrowed a Zoom Pro with webinar add-on so we could accommodate [the] participants.”
Despite the positive turnout of their event, Manese, who had only now experienced organizing a LEAP activity, confessed that the weeklong program “definitely has been stressful”. Nevertheless, she noted that even with the online setting,”if you put out a class that is unique and structured, then its quality would [only] depend on the actual activity and the people behind it.”