by Ivan Anthony A. Adaro and Emmarie M. Bonganciso | May 24, 2022
A good trademark of a great leader is someone who takes the initiative—one that is driven by the ambition to succeed and passion to serve. They lead by example and inspire their teams to perform at their best, ensuring that everyone will be empowered with a sense of responsibility and motivation that can contribute to organizational success, as well as meeting the needs of the people.
John Christian V. Entrata and Kyla Z. Bue, the Silliman University Student Government (SUSG) president-elect and vice-president-elect respectively, are bound to lead the student body in the next academic school year and they are ready to take the responsibility of serving and leading the Sillimanians to a better future.
In what direction will Entrata and Bue lead the students? How will they respond to the challenges and responsibilities that await them? What can the school and students expect from them? As the next leaders of the university, both answered a set of questions befitting the future of Silliman University, their leadership qualities, and what’s in store for the next school year.
12 Questions for the next SUSG President
1. What did you feel when you found out you won as SUSG President for S.Y. 2022-2023?
I won by a very small margin, so when it was announced, I was really in a state of shock. I had to recheck multiple times to make certain that we have the right results. As soon as it sunk in, I was really happy and grateful for the trust that the Silliman student body placed in Kyla and me.
2. How do you intend to increase the awareness of the significance of your position and platforms to a wider range of students?
We are aware that most students really feel distant from the SUSG which is why Kyla and I really want our administration to reach the grassroots of the Silliman Community. We want to bring the SUSG closer to the students by mobilizing local government units of the different colleges such as the league of governors and college councils. Through this, the promotion and communication of the plans of the SUSG will be streamlined and will really reach the students in different colleges.
3. What is your leadership style and how will you apply it in your services?
As a student leader, I could say that I am really authoritative and organized. These traits will be helpful in making certain that there is proper delegation of tasks among the executive committees and that all execoms will be mobilized. I also want each member of the SUSG to feel empowered in a way that they have a sense of responsibility for their personal initiatives and projects. In the same way, accountability must always be upheld.
4. As the campus slowly transitions back to face-to-face learning, how can you provide the student body and the school a smooth and exciting transition?
With our platforms, Safe and Secured Silliman and the SUSG Assistance Desk, we want to provide Sillimanians with the necessary assistance as we go back to face-to-face classes. We also aim to slowly bring back face-to-face activities such as Genesis.
5. Could you name three (3) specific programs that you want to implement when you take the role as the new SUSG president for the school year 2022-2023?
Kyla and I intend to materialize all our platforms but the top three programs on my list are as follows: (1) The Safe and Secured Silliman in which we will be pushing for a more systematic contact tracing mechanism, a digital triage system, and a COVID-19 Hotline. (2) The Grievance Representatives Guild where the SUSG will be asking the LOG to endorse grievance representatives per unit in order to have a centralized and stream-lined grievances communication. These representatives will be endorsed to the student body as the primary point person and recipient of their concerns and grievances. (3) Finally, the establishment of the Tuition Watch Task Force under the SUSG STRAW Committee will serve as the primary lobbying body for the concerns related to tuition and fees. With the help of the League of Governors as the communication arm of the task force, monthly consultations will be done with the student body to gather questions and concerns.
6. What, for you, will be the greatest challenge that you will be facing and how will you overcome it?
I think the biggest challenge this school year is having to adjust to face-to-face operations again after getting used to online activities in the last two years. I believe we can overcome this by having the right people in our executive committees. We intend to find people who already have experience both in the old and new normal so that we can all help each other adjust during this transition.
7. What were the greatest obstacles you’ve faced in the online school setting and how have these strengthened and shaped you into the leader you are today?
The greatest obstacle I have faced in the online setting is having to draw boundaries between rest and work. Since we were doing everything from our own rooms, the line between rest and work really got blurry. The online setting forced us to personally draw this boundary through time and energy management. I was able to have a higher sense of self-discipline and self-awareness to make certain that I have a work-play balance. As a leader, I also intend to impart this to my constituents to make certain that they, too, will have a life beyond the University.
8. Why should the student body trust you?
The student body should trust me because I have been honed by the SUSG since my first year at the University. I have experienced working in both the Executive Branch and the Legislative Branch of the SUSG. Through the years, I was able to understand the ins and outs of the SUSG, and I know this will be helpful during my administration. Moreover, I am a student at the School of Public Affairs and Governance where I am fostered to be a thought leader with conscience.
9. Last December 2021, many Sillimanians and Negrosanons alike were drastically affected by Supertyphoon Odette. In your administration, how will you respond to natural disasters such as this if for example, you also happen to be among the victims?
An important trait of a leader is having the courage to show up even and most especially during challenging times. If I happen to be victimized by a disaster affecting my fellow students, I know I might not be able to respond to the calls immediately but I can ascertain to get to work as soon as I have personally recovered. Then again, this goes back to having the right people under my leadership. I should have executive committee chairs who can step-up if I get into an unfortunate situation. Most importantly, I know I can entrust the SUSG to Kyla. I know she can and will step up when times call for it.
10. What do you want Sillimanians to remember most about your administration?
I want the Sillimanians to remember an SUSG that has given them a memorable school year at the University after being away for two years. I also want them to remember the SUSG to be the first which really reached out to them.
11. How do you intend to combat student apathy towards school events and activities?
Our banner platform––Sillimanyanihan––is anchored on the idea of the bayanihan spirit and the Silliman community working together. Our platforms do not only involve the SUSG but we really intend to include the student body in materializing our goals. We want the students to feel that they are part of the SUSG and that they can be part of the solution to our long-standing problems. More importantly, we want to build an SUSG that really reaches the grassroots by collaborating with the smaller units of the SUSG such as the League of Governors and Student Councils.
12. Complete the statement: I am John Christian V. Entrata, the SUSG President, and I am ______.
Ready to serve the Silliman student body.
12 Questions for the next SUSG Vice President
- What was your reaction when you found out you won as SUSG Vice-President for S.Y. 2022-2023?
The initial emotions that flooded me right after finding out that I am officially the 32nd SUSG Vice President were enthusiasm and pressure. Thinking of the following months ahead and having the opportunity to put our platforms into action made me excited. I also felt the type of pressure that is enough to push myself to make certain that I give my best in serving the students. Just enough to be true to Christian and I’s words, “Let’s get to work.”
- What are current important issues that the student body is facing and how do you plan on addressing these issues?
With the two-year pandemic, students encountered a lot of issues and one is lack of opportunities which eventually lead to student apathy. Because of the online learning set-up, it narrowed the opportunities for the students to engage in activities that are fit to their interests. With this, in Christian and I’s administration, we will strive to get them involved and provide them platforms where they can be exposed to different opportunities.
- How will you work to be an effective liaison between the school administration and the student body?
Aside from building good rapport with the administration, it is important to make certain that we maintain transparency between the administration and the students. As the vice-president, upon forwarding concerns, it is also my responsibility to filter the concerns so that we only forward them if there’s a need. For the student body, it is crucial that we maintain good communication and proper dissemination of information through effective means.
- What was the most challenging experience you’ve encountered in the online campaign and how did you face it?
The most challenging experience I’ve encountered during the campaigns was making certain that my energy was managed. Sitting in front of the screen for 5 days straight and ensuring that you’ll be at your best state at any given time was challenging. Yet, having a good support system, hearing positive responses from the room-to-room campaigns and connecting with the students kept me fueled until the end of the campaign season.
- Can you share with us at least three (3) specific undertakings you are planning next year?
As the next Vice-president, (1) next year I would strive to make SUSG be a relevant part of each sillimanian’s student life. (2) Another is to make certain that the League of Governors will be properly maximized for the benefit of the students (3) in line with establishing the Grievance Representatives Guild, to guarantee that there will be a streamline of concerns and these will be properly addressed.
- What good leadership qualities do you have within you and how will you apply these in your time as SUSG’s Vice President for 2022-2023?
In my years of being a student leader, some good leadership qualities that I possess are self-awareness and patience. Being the next vice-president requires one to be self-aware of their style of leadership and how they influence people. Through holding a few leadership positions, I was able to be aware of my leadership style and this gave me a direction for next school year. Patience is also one very important trait that a leader should have, upon staying in position, one would be meeting a lot of people from all walks of life. Thus, making sure that you maintain a nurturing and encouraging environment is a must.
- What are you most excited about working with John Entrata?
Christian, being my college bestie, is someone I am very comfortable working with. What excites me the most is just merely being able to work with him in the SUSG Office, learning more about our working dynamics, likes and dislikes, and experiencing each other’s phases as we both work for the student body.
- In every council, big or small, there will always be a possibility for division and disputes within. In your past leadership experiences, how have you responded to such situations? Have you ever regretted how you handled disputes?
In these situations, it is important to stay rational and open. I, personally, do not often get into disputes during my past leadership experiences. But, when I do, I would always vouch for a communication to happen between two parties and make certain that there is someone who is willing to listen and provide a 3rd opinion on the subject.
- It is common knowledge that stepping into leadership positions carries with it the implication that many people will eventually have an opinion about you as a leader and your administration as a whole. Are you prepared for the possibility of getting harsh criticism online? If so, how do you plan to deal with this?
Before saying yes to this opportunity, I was able to consider all possible scenarios. Criticism is always good if one knows how to handle it. But when harsh ones will be thrown at me, I will lean on my principles. In the first place, I trust that in each decision I make, there is a sound reasoning behind. As long as I represent the students and I stand on what’s right, I will be facing the criticisms in a professional and fair way.
- What is one thing that you would refuse to compromise on as a standard bearer?
As a standard bearer, I would never compromise the safety of the students. Especially with the recent political climate, the students need to be assured and guaranteed that their student leaders are willing to back them up. Christian and I will strive to make actions to further protect the students as they stand for what is right and just.
- Do you believe that student apathy towards school activities and events is a prevalent problem in Silliman? How do you plan to alleviate that?
Yes, especially with the onset of face-to-face classes, it is crucial that we get the students involved once again. With this, we will strive to have activities that would really reach the students. Activities that would give them the opportunity to maximize their potential and events that would fit their interests. We would also give them a platform where they can champion their advocacies and allow them to have an impact in other students’ lives. Also, the activities will be properly assessed to make certain that it is geared to the students’ needs and wants.
- Complete the statement: I am Kyla Z. Bue, the SUSG Vice-President, and I am _____.
Your trusted friend next school year.