Sharing food, medicine, used clothes, old toys—for most of us, this is the usual form of community service. It has become a standard practice that we don’t bother to think of other things to share.
Under the leadership of Engr. Orlando Lopez—Civil Engineering department chairperson and two other CE professors namely, Engr. Crispin Lictoa, and Engr. Cecille Marcos—the 5th year Civil Engineering students came up with a ‘Bayanihan Project’ in Calauan, Laguna.
Their original plan was to complete and renovate the 25 housing units which were a project of former President Joseph Estrada. Caritas Manila became aware of housing project and coordinated with ICES for possible support. The ICES informed the CE Department about this and the latter responded accordingly.
For five Fridays, from August 8 to September 5, 2008, CE students gathered as early as 6:00 a.m. in the university to head to Calauan by 7:00 a.m. The first day was not easy. Tall shrubs, decaying wood, and rusting roofs greeted them. Out of the 25 units, only five were occupied and only one could be considered ‘okay.’ They thoroughly cleaned the 22 square meter property, replaced the roofs, renovated some of the units, and beautified them as much as they could. They were completely tanned by the sun, but seeing the good results of their work gave them a sense of fulfillment.
Due to lack of experience though, the students were able to finish only 12 out of the 25. Since they also had to attend to their academic duties, Engr. Lopez moved work on the remaining 13 units to February next year, depending on their schedules.
“Normally, kapag gumagawa ng community service, nagbibigay ng food at medicine. We want to give something na pangmatagalan ang effect” Engr. Lopez said when asked why the CE Department opted for this time-consuming and labor-intensive project. Jerrife May A. Nermal