Head On: Sta. Ana leads the charge for ‘community-powered’ CLA

Verrick Sta. Ana, fresh-faced 119 with a batch vice presidency and presidency under their belt, hits the ground running in their campaign for the College of Liberal Arts presidency. Imagining a community-centered CLA college, they champion Santugon sa Tawag ng Panahon’s (Santugon) colors in their ambitious bid. 

On their background

The LaSallian: What are some of the factors that influenced you to become the next CLA college president? How did your experience as batch Vice President and batch President train you for this position?

Verrick Sta. Ana:  As the former batch Vice President of FAST 2019, I was able to know the effective execution of projects. As the incumbent batch president nalaman ko kung gaano kahalaga na pakinggan ang bawat estudyante para makabuo ng tama at epektibong solusyon. And beyond DLSU, as a volunteer in a global nonprofit organization, I was able to head socio civic initiatives for our country.  Having experienced all this and having heard different stories from inside and outside our college, this drives me as college president to create a community-powered College of Liberal Arts where each sector is represented at lahat ng problema ay may tugon. 

On the status quo

The LaSallian: How do you think the college has fared in terms of student services and enlistment in the past?

Sta. Ana: During this college government, we saw a lot of good initiatives, we have fixed your flowchart…and we’re able to establish accessible student services. At the same time there are different financial grants for the students. But as we know…society is dynamic and our future is unpredictable. But I recognize now [that] our problems have evolved [to be] more than just enlistment and student services; we have problems in terms of financial, mental health, academic, on a spiritual level. And that is what a community-powered CLA is trying to solve; it provides inclusive student response when working with all…student sectors to even DLSU offices hanggang sa labas ng kolehiyo.

On their plans and priorities

The LaSallian: Which projects would be your priority once elected? What do you think are the pressing challenges that the college is facing right now?

Sta. Ana: First of all, I’d like to acknowledge that the online learning set up is not inclusive to all kasi sa iba’t-ibang paraan natin tinatahak ang pandemya…we can see that the problems are diverse and the solutions must be inclusive. So…my priority is to provide this inclusive student response. First, we have CLA HOPES. It’s an integrated facility where we are bridged with the support system [of the] the Lasallian Center for Inclusivity, Diversity and Well Being or LCIDWell. The first thing that I will do [as CLA CAP] is to structure the government by establishing an ACG College Council of Students Sectors, where LGBTQ+  athletes, persons with disabilities, other faith groups, and scholars have a seat in the ACG. So, each student has a say in the policy and direction of the college.

The LaSallian: How will you ensure that your platforms are successfully catered toward these sectors if you become the next CLA CAP? 

Sta. Ana: In a community-powered CLA it is important to recognize the strength that lies [in] all sectors; from students to…the organizations beyond our campus. From that recognition we consult all of these people [to] make sure that all voices are heard and all these sources  are accounted for. From there we could ensure that this will be effective dahil una pa lang nakonsulta na siya sa office tulad ng LCIDWell. Ngayon, ‘pag itinuloy natin ang proyekto …mahalaga [na] nakonsulta na rin siya sa Associate Dean ng CLA.  ‘Pag na-establish natin ‘to, what’s important is that it is sustainable. That’s why it is integrated in the organizational chart… so that as we move forward, alam natin na mayroon tayong babalikan. And it is that platform kung saan all sectors will have a say for the direction of the college.

The LaSallian: How do you plan to bring CLA students closer amid the ongoing pandemic?

Sta. Ana: Okay, in order for us to bring the CLA students closer, [we must] to recognize na iba-iba tayo ng hakbang. May mga estudyante na isang hakbang lang, ‘yung iba 10 na. That’s why, through a community powered College of Liberal Arts that moves forward together …[kailangan] ma-recognize na iba-iba tayo ng tinatahakMahalaga na makita natin kung nasaan ang bawat estudyante, ano ba ang meron, at ano ‘yung pwede nating magawa [para] sa kapwa. From there, doon natin malalaman kung ano ‘yung common sa atin [at] ano ba ‘yung difference[s] natin that could create a sense of community even though we are [in] the confines of our homes.

The LaSallian: How do you plan to communicate and engage with the older batches?

Sta. Ana: In order for us to communicate and engage with all student sectors, mahalaga na malaman natin na bakit nga ba na hindi sila nage-engage in the first place. So regardless of what we are experiencing, and regardless of the reason, magkakaroon tayo ng inclusive student response. Para, kahit ano pa ‘yung nararanasan ng estudyante, makakarating at makakaresonate ang mga proyekto na ito sa bawat mag aaral. Pangalawa, we have proactive engagements…kung saan we recognize na these batches also are preparing for the life beyond DLSU. Kaya meron kaming Global Liberal Arts Career Summit para ma-cater ang mga ganitong experiences. And last, progressive collaboration. Malalaman [natin] kung ano ‘yung kapasidad ng bawat isa, [and] from there, sabihin natin ‘yon sa bawat mamamayan ng kolehiyo natin…we get to meet at a certain point…so we can move forward together.

The LaSallian: What kind of CLA do you envision during your term?

Sta. Ana: I envision a community-powered College of Liberal Arts…where we create proactive solutions. Whichever path you’re going to take, we have an initiative for that. A college where we put progressive collaboration at the forefront because we recognize that as CLA students, we are stronger if we use our individuality…to create change. So through this, we get to acknowledge and help each student [to] take a step…forward into the academic year and [the] new Philippine administration. Kung saan, tayo[ng] mga mag aaral ng Kolehiyo ng Malalayang Sining ay kaya gumawa ng pagbabago sa sarili, para sa kapwa at para sa bayan

This interview was edited for length and clarity.

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