Head On: LCSG sole runner Nauj Agbayani bares plan as campus prexy

New to the political scene, Nauj Agbayani takes on the challenge of fighting for better inclusion of the Laguna campus in pertinent matters.

Political newcomer Nauj Agbayani of Alyansang Tapat sa Lasallista vies for the top spot of the Laguna College Student Government (LCSG) in hopes of amplifying Laguna students’ concerns in a Manila-centric University Student Government (USG) and pushing for a more equitable Laguna-Manila campus system.

The LaSallian: You are running for campus president as a sophomore, among the youngest in LCSG election history. What motivated you to run for president in your second year in college?

Nauj Agbayani: I’ve been involved with many organizations, [including] the LCSG, in my frosh year. Along with that, I’ve been very immersed when it comes to the concerns of the students, especially those within my batch, which [comprises] most of the people in the Laguna campus. What motivated me to run as campus president is to represent…not only them, but also my seniors and the new ID 123s…kasi for me, kailangan na mayroon silang mas malakas na boses especially para ma-contextualize ‘yung struggles nila bilang Laguna students. This may entail, for example, ‘yung kakulangan ng classes nilaIto kasi ‘yung mga klase ng problema na hindi naman bound sa pagiging sophomore mo…Everyone experiences it in just the same way.

The LaSallian: What past experiences do you have that can help you in fulfilling your duties should you become campus president?

Agbayani: I believe my experience with the student government before, especially when it comes to external communications, can help me better tap into the strategies needed kung paano mo kukunin nang maayos ‘yung insights ng mga estudyante. I’ve also been part of other volunteer organizations kung saan nagho-host kami ng events for the student body. And I think the comments that I have received [from] the student body sa events na ‘yon would be valuable in helping me create more programs, events, and projects for them.

The LaSallian: Having a few runners is often a concern for the LCSG. Why do you think this is so? And how do you plan to represent your campus as its sole running?

Agbayani: Running has always been a daunting task for Laguna campus students kasi, first of all, the processes na ginagawa sa pag fa-file ng COC (Certificate of Candidacy), for example, hindi namin ito mabigyang-linaw sa konteksto ng Laguna dahil ang [kaunti] namin. And at the same time, hindi ganoon ka-pronounced kung…[paano] pwedeng i-tap into ang student government. Kayaplano ko na magkaroon pa ng dialogue with students, maybe through the use of town hall sessions, [para] ma-rouse ‘yung interest nila in these kinds of…political discourses. Hindi naman natin puwedeng ipagduldulan lang [na] every end lang ng academic year na may elections [at] dapat tayong maging aware sa national affairs. Dapat it’s a holistic formation na every term mayroon tayong ginagawa para ma-tap ‘yung ganitong sense sa kanila.

The LaSallian: Manpower is cited by your predecessors as one of the main concerns of the LCSG. In view of this, how will you engage more students to participate in the LCSG and activities on your campus?

Agbayani: As a small population, I think hindi naman natin maiiwasan na [kaunti] ‘yung manpower. But at the same time, Laguna campus is a close-knit community…Puwede tayong makipag-collaborate with other organizations, other offices, [and] other volunteer [organizations] na may sari-sarili nilang set of student volunteers, leaders, and committee membersSo it doesn’t have to be all powered by people from LCSG lang. It needs to be a joint collaboration with the various offices and student organizations that we have here in the Laguna campus. And, in effect, [sa] pagsagawa natin ng collaboration in eventshopefully ma-engage natin ‘yung mga estudyante na makita ‘yung bigger vision for the Laguna campus na “I can do something to help this campus.”

The LaSallian: Over the years, a lot of Laguna campus students have complained about Manila campus students taking classes intended for them during enlistment. What are your plans to address this concern?

Agbayani: It was already addressed by the previous LCSG admin by lobbying for the Laguna students to take the first schedule or the first time block sa pag-e-enlist ng schedule. They enroll at around eight in the morning…so taking the majority of X sections has been consistently high in the previous terms. However, we have to address nga din na kailangan pa damihan ‘yung classes, hindi lamang [doon] sa GEs (general education courses) or sa classes na tine-take [din] ng Manila students dito, pati na [rin] ‘yung majors kasi we’ve also noticed na dumadami na ‘yung Manila students na nakikita ‘yung majors in the Laguna campus as a viable solution para ma-complete nila ‘yung programs nila and kailangan natin ma-fix ito in such a way na lahat ng gustong mag-enlist, magkakaroon ng session. We have to lobby it sa appropriate administrators.

The LaSallian: How do you plan to work with the USG to address concerns about systems being Manila-centric and the Laguna campus being excluded?

Agbayani: Part of my platforms has always been getting the things Manila has into [the] Laguna campus. I have drafted ways on how to carry the specific programs [and] communicate with the deans who carry [these] programs here in the Laguna campus…as well as ‘yung majors na limited…Mayroon kasing cases na Laguna students are enrolled under [the] Laguna [campus] pero ‘yung majors nila, andiyan lang sa Manila. So, in the end, nagpupunta lang din sila ng Manila kasi nandoon nga ‘yung majors nila. I think that should also be the same case for University processes especially for their forms and other things nakailangan mo pa puntahan sa Manila. Kailangan mayroon tayong satellite hub just like with the ESH (Enrollment Services Hub), and sa SLIFE (Office of Student Leadership Involvement, Formation and Empowerment) [na] ang counterpart nila ay CSA (College Student Affairs) dito sa Laguna campus. Kailangan lang natin na mabigyan ng counterpart ang bawat office na handang tumulong or i-resolve ‘yung ganitong klaseng problems ng student polity.

The LaSallian: Can you mention or elucidate on concrete plans that you have prepared? Do you have certain projects that you plan to collaborate on with the USG?

Agbayani: With the USG, ang nakikita kong possible plan ay pagkakaroon ng events. When it comes to institutional events that are carried out there in Manila, I know the USG plays a central role in facilitating that and making sure that it happens smoothly. So, ‘yung mga ganitong klaseng events, puwede kong i-carry over din sa Laguna campus in such a way na ang Laguna campus ay talagang may specific spot sa table ng Manila. Ang nangyari kasi sa previous events, sa social events, ay…may sariling ganap ang Laguna campus. And at the same time, kailangan pa namin itong i-lobby na ma-promote sa Manila campus. It happened with the [University Vision-Mission] Week…so dapat siguro maiplano ‘to nang maayos kung paano ide-delegate sa Laguna ‘yung kayang gawin ng Laguna at hindi na siya separate event pa.

The LaSallian: How do you envision the LCSG and the Laguna campus by the end of your term?

Agbayani: I aspire to create an LCSG that taps well into the needs of its students—its constituents…Ang gusto natin, by the end of my term, marunong makinig ang LCSG, marunong itong bumagay sa konteksto, at kaya [nitong] gumawa ng events na talagang magta-tap sa interes ng estudyante

This interview was edited for length and clarity.

Carl Joshua Mamuri

By Carl Joshua Mamuri

JJ Mercado

By JJ Mercado

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