Student Welfare Director of the School of Economics Government (SEG) Macie Tarnate of Santugon sa Tawag ng Panahon (Santugon) discusses her plans on enhancing external opportunities and their call for a more proactive student body as she aspires to take charge in the University Student Government’s (USG) Office of the Vice President for External Affairs (OVPEA).
The LaSallian: What traits and experiences do you possess that you think will help you as vice president for external affairs?
Macie Tarnate (Santugon): I actually had a lot of experiences [with] external relations. I was part of LEAP, Amore Bazaar, and the committee that was communicating [with] external companies to partner with DLSU. I think that me having [the] skills to connect with external opportunities says a lot, and I am capable [of] venturing out beyond the University, na kaya kong makahanap ng iba’t-ibang mga oportunidad para sa mga Lasalyano.
The LaSallian: What do you think is the country’s most pressing concern at present and how will your office, as the external arm of the student government, shed more light on this?
Tarnate: One of the most pressing concerns here in the Philippines is honestly the inflation. As a student from the SOE, nakikita ko kung gaano kahalaga na binibigyan natin itong highlight para sa mga estudyante at sa mga Pilipino na nakakaapekto nga talaga ‘to, dahil sa simpleng pamumuhay natin, nararamdaman natin itong mga pagtaas ng presyo ng mga pagkain [at] ng mga kailangan natin sa pang-araw-araw na buhay.
That is why the projects that I will be having once I do get elected as the [VPEA] is to get the students involved sa national affairs and have their voices amplified para ma-push talaga ‘yung mga opinyon nila para sa mga nangyayari sa ating ekonomiya.
The LaSallian: How will the OVPEA keep the Lasallian community feel safe and motivated to speak up on issues of national concern in light of widespread red-tagging?
Tarnate: I have this initiative called the “Lasalyano, Anong Say Mo?” From the name itself, parang tinatanong niya kung ano bang gusto mong sabihin bilang isang Lasalyano, and that is a big platform para sa mga estudyante para sabihin sa mundo kung ano ‘yung gusto nilang sabihin sa pressing issues sa ating national affairs.
The LaSallian: What do you think are some external opportunities that have not been offered enough under OVPEA? How will you bring these opportunities closer to Lasallians?
Tarnate: Para sa akin, ‘yung practicums na binibigay para sa mga estudyanteng nag-aaral dito sa ating Pamantasan [who are taking] internships. I actually want to expand this opportunity na magkaroon pa ng mas maraming choices ‘yung mga estudyante [in] choosing what practicum or internships they would be able to accredit [in] their curriculum.
The LaSallian: What sets your office apart considering that students have the ability to find external opportunities independently? How can you contribute to their efforts and experiences?
Tarnate: As the VPEA, I want the students to have more accessibility and more sustainable results [in their] everyday lives. Hindi naman din talaga madali makahanap ng external opportunities…we have our own weaknesses, strengths, connections, and [the] means to go to the destination that we want to take. Pero, hindi lahat tayo ay nagkakaroon ng chance para makuha ‘yung opportunities na ito.
We want to make it more accessible para sa mga estudyante na mahanap kung anuman ‘yung gusto nilang mahanap. So, [we are] just giving them [a] more comprehensive approach into looking into the external opportunities that are readily available.
The LaSallian: What aspects of the incumbent’s performance do you think have been particularly effective and how do you plan to build on those successes?
Tarnate: In terms of University affairs, nakikita ko kung gaano din ka-involved ‘yung ating USG sa mga nangyayari sa national affairs, sa LGBTQIA+ events and sa iba’t iba pang initiatives na ginagawa ng USG. That actually says a lot na nagkakaroon tayo ng tindig at ng stance sa gusto natin talagang mangyari. Gusto kong ipagpatuloy ‘yon… na nae-exercise ng mga estudyante ‘yung freedom nila to express themselves, and I will not just stop there. I want it na magtuloy-tuloy pa, I want to give more chances and opportunities for our Lasallian community.
The LaSallian: What metrics would you use to evaluate the effectiveness of your efforts in providing external opportunities and sociopolitical awareness initiatives?
Tarnate: One of the brands of leadership under Santugon is [being] consultative. Kung sakali man na ako na ‘yung ma-elect na VPEA, magiging consultative ako sa student body. I am currently the director for student welfare under the SEG, so [we are] very consultative…Tinatanong namin ‘yung mga estudyante kung ano ba ‘yung sa tingin nila gusto pa nilang ma-improve [at] gaano ba ka-effective ‘yung initiatives…I want that to be adapted into [the OVPEA].
The LaSallian: What are the core advocacies you aim to focus on in your first term if elected as vice president for external affairs?
Tarnate: I would like to highlight empowerment. Nakikita ko kung gaano kahalaga ang pagiging empowered para sa mga Lasalyanong katulad ko. I want the Lasallian community to feel empowered na the USG has their back…Anything that they want…ipo-provide ito ng USG through giving them opportunities para makapag-venture out beyond the University premises.
This interview was edited for length and clarity.
With reports from Jezah Mae Bagsit.