By Genno Rabaya | August 22, 2023
Silliman University’s (SU) environmental policy will apply to the 2023 Hibalag Booth Festival’s wooden booths, which recently made a comeback for the first time since the pandemic.
“Last year, the main reason why they had to use canopies was because of the time constraints given to them,” said Enrica Dinopol, president of the SU Student Government (SUSG).
SUSG and the administration agreed with the return of the wooden booths for this school year.
Dinopol said that, “We wanted to ascertain that we [got] the students’ vote. We [got] to hear what the organizations wanted and upon their discretion, all of them preferred to have a booth building na wooden ilahang procedure na ganahan [with wooden material procedures], not just the normal tents.”
To ensure compliance with the university’s environmental policies, SUSG planned to implement strict sanctions and guidelines for organizations’ booths and gimmicks.
“We also took the extra mile to really make certain that we can keep [everybody] in check in terms of how we are going to make or present this year’s environmentally-friendly or environmental advocacy for Hibalag,” Dinopol added, further clarifying that businesses and sponsors were also included in the environmental guidelines.
Meanwhile, Dr. Earl Jude Paul Cleope, vice president for academic affairs, shared the same sentiment.
“We wanted [it to be…] simple, economical, and things like that; but we also adapted the spirit of enthusiasm. So as long as it’s okay with them (university organizations), then this is what I call a show of creativity, ingenuity, and what have you [sic].”
However, considering the risk of poor waste management, Sabrina Ysabelle Ledesma, chairperson of the SUSG Environment Committee, said that the large number of attendees may lead to the accumulation of improperly disposed trash, affecting the campus and the city of Dumaguete.
“Thus, the guidelines we made are aimed more towards their choices in [the] materials and objects they would use,” she added.
Student organizations are expected to adhere to the re-utilization procedures, which include putting the wood and nipa on sale at a cheaper price after being used for the booths.
“I think this is great since they’re choosing avenues for it to be used again by other people for other purposes [while] not risking them being improperly stored or disposed [of],” Ledesma said.
The SUSG Environment Committee also released a statement on their Facebook page on Aug. 13, announcing that the plastic ban will continue in the school year 2023-2024.