Sunday, April 14, 2024

SU extends psychosocial support to students

by Karylle Panorel | March 31, 2022

Photo Courtesy of Silliman University Facebook Page

The Office of Student Services (OSS) shifted its focus from relief efforts to psychosocial processing (PSP) for affected Sillimanians in typhoon-hit communities. PSP is one of the three phases of SU’s disaster or critical incident response.

After Typhoon Odette hit some parts of the country, the Health and Emergency Response Team (HERT), in partnership with OSS, conducted a survey and listed approximately 367 Sillimanian students that were significantly affected by Typhoon Odette.

The university’s counselors also reached out through texts and class. The Dean of Students, Dr. Edna Gladys Calingacion, clarified that not all students on the list responded but a “good number” expressed their need for PSP. 

“When you go through a traumatic experience, somehow your mental, emotional being is affected. So, we would like to restore it so they could understand what happened. It’s not about forgetting, but trying to understand and handle it well so that the trauma will not stay forever,” she said.

Dr. Calingacion added that Typhoon Odette affected the university’s enrollment numbers, but she said that “the drop is not that high.” However, the typhoon was not the only issue that affected enrollment figures in the second semester.

“The challenge might be not because of the tuition fee but then the capacity to sustain the online mode of learning, connectivity might still be a problem in their area, and then it would be very expensive if they have to come down to Dumaguete just to attend classes online. There are a lot of factors that might be the reason,” Calingacion added. 

Meanwhile, HERT Vice-Chairperson Meilynne Gem Sonjaco and Francis Robert Estollso verified that their data about the enrollee rates align with Dr. Calingacion’s. 

The committee also referred the said students to the Scholarship and Aid Office of the possibility that they will receive scholarship opportunities when enrolled this second semester.

In order to address the connection difficulties of affected students, OSS discussed with the SUSG and the HERT committee about establishing connectivity hubs in several areas around northern Negros. 

Calingacion added that supplying them with a connectivity allowance is “challenging”. She said it would be “easier and more cost-effective” to establish a hub in each town and to prioritize Negros as of time. 

The university has also extended financial consideration to students who were affected by the typhoon, which included considerations to appeal for payments or apply for Rolando Villanueva de Carmen’s need-based scholarship.

Moreover, SUSG and OSS were able to distribute “Ayuda Bags” and provided subsidy beneficiaries.

The Silliman Initiative (TSI), a relief effort by the Silliman University community aimed to gather monetary and material donations to aid “kababayan”  affected by the typhoon.

They were able to raise a total of P822,114.48 through the collective efforts of the nonprofit organization’s various partners, which were then used for buying the “ayuda”.

Students affected by the typhoon in Negros Oriental were commonly from Ayungon, Bais, Bindoy, Guihulngan, Jimalalud, La Libertad, Mabinay, Manujod, and Tanjay; while those affected outside of Negros Oriental were from Negros Occidental, Cebu, Bohol, Siquijor, Palawan, and some provinces in Mindanao.

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