HIGHLIGHTS: Escoto recaps ‘historic’ USG term in final State of Student Governance

Outgoing University Student Government (USG) President Giorgina Escoto walked the Lasallian community through the USG’s accomplishments and milestones in her fourth and final State of Student Governance last December 1 at the Waldo Perfecto Seminar Room.

Campus return efforts

Escoto highlighted that the USG has treated the Lasallian community’s transition to on-site operations as its “primary concern” by proposing campus return guidelines and gradually reintroducing on-site activities such as the University Mission-Vision Week and the Office of the Executive Treasurer’s “Anaya 2022: Christmas Bazaar”.

“The #BalikDLSU Proposal was the very first policy we worked on to respond to this call (safe return to campus). With the help of the University officials…some of the facilities of the Manila campus [were reopened]. Eventually, with the decision of the government to ease health restrictions, we were able to hold the first on-site events in DLSU in the past two years. We were also able to support the University’s vaccination programs, which benefited many of the members of the Lasallian community. ”

Easing financial woes

Economic woes felt by the Lasallian community had urged the USG to negotiate pro-student proposals, including an opposition to tuition fee increase, and to establish more financial aids, scholarships, and grants.

“The USG [worked] on lobbying for a No Tuition Fee Increase proposal for the next academic year…It was ultimately decided that the University would impose a three-percent tuition fee increase for this academic year, [which] the USG opposed as the results were not in favor of the student body…Many grants and scholarships were launched by the USG to aid those who experienced financial difficulties this past year. Currently, we are taking steps to actualize the Lasallian Community Assistance Program, which is a part of our plans of action [at] the beginning of the year.”

National affairs initiatives

Escoto recounted that the USG initiated various projects to educate students on national affairs and democracy, and to protect socio-civic participation in the DLSU community.

“In commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Martial Law in the Philippines, the USG launched the Martial Law Pushback series, the 5ingkwento (Singkwento) Human Library, the “Gunita” museum visits, the establishment of the Human Rights and Democracy course elective, and the [proposed] Anti Red-tagging Policy, which will all be turned over to the new [USG] administration.”

Revising academic guidelines

Escoto mentioned a USG review of the University’s rules and guidelines on graduation honors and awards with the aim of lobbying for revisions.

“Because of the pandemic, many policies were implemented in terms of academic grades, which affected the status of numerous graduating students. We recently launched a survey [that] aimed to gather data on the experiences of students when it comes to their academic performance during the pandemic. We will be passing this [on to] the next USG in the hopes that the next administration will revisit its policies on graduation honors and awards.”

Strengthening ties with University admin

Noting vehicular accidents and flooding along Taft Ave., among other student welfare concerns, Escoto informed the student body that the USG has raised several pressing issues in a meeting with DLSU Board of Trustees Chairman Nestor Tan last November 15.

“For the very first time, the USG was able to secure a meeting with the chairman of the Board of Trustees so that student concerns can be addressed by the highest decision-making body of DLSU. In this meeting, three main issues were raised: rising student fees, the modernization of University processes and services, and the general welfare of the student body. We were also able to discuss the campus strategy for the University’s future. Through this meeting, we were able to establish a working relationship between the DLSU Board of Trustees and the students themselves.”

Final touches

As the current USG administration concludes its term, Escoto encouraged students to participate in the USG’s ongoing and upcoming initiatives.

“In the next few days, the [outgoing] USG Executive Board will launch one of its final projects, the satellite National ID registration booths. This will be located in the Gokongwei building, and will run from December 5 to December 10…It is also our hope that you enjoyed this year’s University Mission-Vision Week and the Anaya Christmas Bazaar.”

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