The setup of online distance learning has created numerous barriers that changed the landscape of collegiate experience. Despite the challenges, the student representatives convened and decided to push for a virtual SUSG election through Silliman University’s online distance learning platform – SOUL.
Through an exclusive interview, the standard-bearers of both parties expressed their deep concerns about helping fellow students at this crucial time. To give a gist, these leaders are pushing towards a common goal: ensuring students’ voices be heard especially in the online distance learning setup, and most especially to prepare for other unforeseen events in the future such as pandemics.
Both the candidates for the presidency detailed their plans for creating safety nets for unforeseen events in the future.
The CAUSE party’s presidential candidate, Myka G. Reambonanza from the College of Arts and Sciences, shared their party’s platforms encompassing three out of the five C’s of CAUSE party.
Firstly, she addresses Courage, as their tandem plans in establishing a database of student information which shall include names, contact numbers, and most importantly, an assessment of the students’ vulnerability towards calamities.
Second, with regards to Competence, she aims to push for scholastic support through scholarships to be given to the students and if possible through load subsidies as well, knowing that the university is currently having online distance learning.
Thirdly, CAUSE party proposes a “SUSG (Silliman University Student Government) SOUL Room” where centralized downloadables shall be placed such as grievance forms. This virtual room shall also hold the “SUSG Weekly Tracker” which shall potentially have a video recap of activities and events of the university.
On the other hand, SURE party’s Rhynard O. Patron from the College of Engineering and Design expressed his party’s platform through 5 P’s, three of which he details during the interview.
He began discussing the first P which is “Pagtingog”. With this, he shared his interest in echoing the students’ concerns and grievances through representation. He explained that minorities shall be given representation in the SUSG coupled with creating organizations that are accredited by the Student Organizations and Activities Division (SOAD). “Pagtingog” also encompasses tying the Judiciary arm of the SUSG with the Student’s Rights and Welfare (STRAW).
Second is his platform entitled, “Pagbangon”. This said platform focuses on the COVID-19 recovery plan which incorporates a response plan suppose another pandemic strikes, emphasizing that the student’s safety is a priority.
Patron’s third platform focuses on strengthening the student government, thus its title, “Pag Lig-On”. A code of conduct shall be created for every member of the SUSG to be followed. In addition, he pushes for transparency through the creation of an information and transparency board where students can examine reports from SUSG.
Meanwhile, the vice-presidential candidates have also shared their unique platforms that mirrored their ideals.
On his end, Shem Japheth B. Barinaga from the School of Public Affairs and Governance shares the other C’s of the party — Character and Community.
Shem began sharing “The Opportunity Avenue”, relating it to one of the five C’s – Character. The said platform is about creating a directory where students can find online jobs and internships. This directory shall cater to the students’ needs on how to go about these employment opportunities.
The second platform is linked to Community. He aims to enliven the spirits of the students to recreate the “Silliman Spirit” even when the students are “screens apart”. He details that the culture and the arts of Silliman shall flourish even with this setup by letting the viewers experience shows as if they were in the Luce auditorium themselves.
Seth C. Bariga from the College of Education iterated the remaining two Ps of their party’s platform. He titled these, “Pagtabang” and “Paghatag ug SOUL-ution”.
He stressed the importance of improving the online distance learning setup. With his platform entitled, “Paghatag ug SOUL-ution”, the students’ experience of online distance learning shall be improved through teacher evaluations. More importantly, he introduced the adaptation of “virtual” laboratories where students especially those enrolled in allied health courses can experience experimentations without exposing themselves to hazards.
In addition to “Paghatag ug SOUL-ution”, is “Pagtabang”. The word speaks for itself as this platform focuses on providing student aid and support for the students through scholarships and discounts with the help of external partners. This platform also encompasses aiding students with their academic thesis for graduating students as well as “Board” and “Bar” takers.
These are only a few of the key platforms that these student leaders hope to champion if given the chance to serve. These leaders remind the student body to vote and exercise their right to choose as this determines your future. As the interview ended, they all gave a piece of advice on whom to choose: ‘the leader who puts you first, loves you, and serves you by empowering your character.’