by Prof. Alejandro Nueva, Jr.
LTS and efficiency trainings have now been replaced with a more comprehensive program as the Office for Student Affairs (OSA) recently sponsored the first Adamson Leaders Congress. This was held at the Adamson Theater last June 7 and 8 and at Caliraya Recreational Center in Lumban, Laguna on June 9 and 10. Adopting the theme “Leveling Up: Into a New Decade of Campus Leadership, Services and Academic Brilliance” for its first staging, this pioneering developmental program design takes on a new paradigm in campus leadership and students’ co-academic services.
The Congress formally opened with ceremonies on the morning of June 7 led by Rev. Fr. Andrew S. Bayal, C.M., Vice President for Student Affairs. Approximately 300 student leaders and campus advisers were present, representing all the officers of the 47 accredited or recognized academic, co-academic, socio-civic, religious and OSA-arm organizations in the campus, including the restructured Adamson University Student Government.
The event was keynoted by Mr. Efren Peñaflorida, CNN’s Hero of the Year for 2009. He was honored for his unique advocacy of helping streetchildren in Cavite City achieve some form of education through the kariton classroom which he personally brings around together with a team of volunteers from the Dynamic Teen Company. Kuya Ef, as he is fondly called, shared his insights and hands-on experiences about his personal philosophy and social advocacy which he sums up into the acronym LEAD: Live the Purpose, Love the People; Experience your Faith, Execute your Plans; Allow Growth, Accept Change; and Deal with your Weaknesses, Dwell in your Strength. His real-life story about the streetchildren elicited emotional reactions from the audience, who were all awe-struck by the simplicity and clarity of his message. He then made an appeal to support him and his club to raise the seed money needed build the educational center for the children in Cavite City, showing them the perspective of the kariton-inspired design building initiated through the cash prize that he received from the CNN award.
Fr. Bayal and OSA Director Atty. Julius A. Babista handed the token of appreciation to Peñaflorida and capped the gesture with the announcement that the University is offering a scholarship for him to take his masters degree at the Graduate School.
The oath-taking ceremony and Pledge of Commitment of the AUSG, RSOs, ACSA and the editorial board of the Adamson Chronicle immediately followed. Alvin Cacut, AUSG President, then gave the orientation to the delegates on the house rules and the general mechanics for team building activities.
The afternoon sessions featured two plenary sessions by Ms. Pamela Mantuhac, director of the Office for Vincentian Identity and Mission, on Vincentian Values and Missions and University President Fr. Gregg L. Bañaga Jr., C.M. on leadership skills.
On Day 2, two other plenary sessions were held in the morning with Fr. Bernie O. Diaz, C.M., Campus Ministry director, on Spiritual Formation and Recollection Making and Fr. Nonong Fajardo, C.M., director of the Integrated Community Extension Services, on Vincentian Corporate Social Responsibility. In the afternoon student leaders were grouped according to their positions to attend tailor-made seminar-workshop sessions. Prof. Alejandro Nueva conducted the session on Parliamentary Procedures for organization presidents while the vice presidents attended the workshop done by professors Ian Loyola and Peachy Labayo. Prof. Henry Magat lectured on the organization secretaries while Dr. Lourdes Pandico did the same for public relations officers. The Adamson University Student External Auditors (AUSEA) did the workshop for treasurers and auditors.
On June 9 and 10 the team building activities were held at the Caliraya Recreation Center. Participants were grouped into six teams—Straightforward, Candid, Subservient, Modest, Magnanimous, and Conscientious—that vied for the Best Group title through fun games and contests. Team Straightforward won over the other teams with a total score of 2,167 aggregate points while the Subservient team bested others in the Showcase of Talents contest.
Ms. Leah Platon-Pandico, head of OSA’s Student Development Section, spearheaded the Steering Committee that worked hard to put the four-day Congress into reality.