by Raul Agner
Just how many angels can dance on a pinhead is an age-old question that remains unanswered. But as to how many kind hearts can slip in a one-peso coin to the side slit of C2 bottles is definitely as many as there are Adamsonians in the whole Adamson University community willing to donate. And many more, if you add kindred spirits like students of De Paul University (DPU) in Chicago.
Barely three months after launching his flagship project—the Vincentian Center for Social Responsibility (VCSR—in the University, Integrated Community Extension Services (ICES) Director Fr. Nonong Fajardo, C.M. has started an ancillary activity: "Piso Mula Sa Puso" (A Peso from the Heart). Launched last December 7, 2007 at the ST Quad, it is a scheme in which every Adamsonian can chip in for a worthy cause by voluntarily contributing P1.00, or more, of their idle or spare or piggy bank-bound coins, to raise a counterpart fund for the livelihood projects of Cabuyao Relocation Site residents in Laguna. The attendance during the three-hour program of University president Fr. Gregg L. Bañaga, Jr., C.M. and other top administrators, the deans and chairpersons, office heads and students signaled all-out support while the presence of Dr. Marco Tavanti of De Paul University (a Vincentian-run institution) and his graduate students lent an international dimension to the affair. Dr. Tavanti and his students were in Adamson for a six-day study abroad program that included a workshop on "Participatory Research for Poverty Reduction" and exposure trips to Payatas, Sucat, Marilao, Bocaue, and Cabuyao.
Basically, the "Piso Mula Sa Puso" (PMSP) is meant to motivate the Cabuyao community to save because any amount it does will be matched by the University community with an equivalent amount. DPU students will also contribute to the fund through the "Dollar From The Heart" campaign that was also launched during last Friday's affair and which they will promote in their school. The Cabuyao community, relocation site of former railway slum dwellers, is the pilot site of the VCSR and ICES.
Simple as it may sound, Fr. Nonong considers the "PMSP" concept as rather innovative in the sense that the assistance does not follow a top-down route but instead a horizontal one, a community to community networking. It is not a one-time donation but a continuing practice of giving in small amounts until it becomes a conscious habit among the students and other sectors of the University community, in effect making AdU's "Education with a Heart" slogan a living one.
To date, empty C2 bottles have been distributed to the different colleges and offices for donors to put their coins in. These will be collected every 2nd and 4th Friday of the month, the contributions recorded in a ledger with the help of student organization officers from the College of Business Administration and placed in a big bottle as the College Fund. That fund will be deposited, in the meantime, with the Vincentian Family Multi-Purpose Cooperative. Collection updates will be posted on conspicuously placed tally boards.
With the VCSR volunteer machinery working full throttle, the University community's positive response and the De Paul U students' help, there's reason to believe that the "Piso Mula Sa Puso" will make a difference in the lives of the Cabuyao relocatees.