My vision for the Sanggunian is to be a student government that values the constituency it serves and the community it is part of by understanding their context, pushing for relevant reforms and engaging the community. This is my dream that I wish to share and pursue with YOU as we move forward towards growth and progress.
The Sanggunian has always strived to serve the student body through providing services, creating projects and policies in the past few years. However, one thing that is lacking in the student government’s services is context. The Sanggunian has been prescribing solutions to problems that they themselves may not understand fully. I propose two things to improve this situation.
a) Enhance representation in the committee on Formation Services and committee on Academic Affairs through incorporating the Course and Block Representatives in these. In the past school years, these committees have been limited to the Central Board of the Sanggunian and have been dealing with issues while having difficulty in consulting students. Adding the representatives would allow for a greater scope with regards to consultations and at the same time, give these Course Reps and Blocks Reps an opportunity to lobby for changes to the Central Board as well.
b) Have representation of accredited and unaccredited student organizations, athletes and political entities in the Committee on Extracurricular Activities. An Atenean’s student life isn’t complete without the small communities that foster the passions of the people who are part of it. The Sanggunian should be a body that helps these smaller communities to realize these passions. It has tried through collaborations but it hasn’t really addressed what these groups need which is a voice in the Sanggunian. Giving these valuable student groups representation in the Sanggunian would enable them to forward concerns with regards to budget, school policies and lobby for reforms as well. The Sanggunian on one hand would be able to understand further what the pressing concerns are of these groups and address them accordingly.
As the body that represents the body to the administration, the Sanggunian should be the body that dialogues and when necessary lobby for changes with regards to our school’s policies. In my term, two things that will be addressed would be policies with regards to the inefficiencies of Office of Administrative Services and the disbursement of funds to student organizations. To do this, the Department on Research and Statistics will be commissioned to create on study and gather data on the issues of students with regards to these policies. The Committee on Administrative Services will then be tasked to use the results of the study to create
recommendations to further improve these services and make it better for both sides. These will then be lobbied to our administration so that dialogue could be started and necessary changes could be made.
Every Atenean should be given an opportunity to find the niche in the community wherein he or she can flourish. I believe that Sanggunian should be the ones to actively pursue in being able to provide these opportunities to the students. For us to be able to do this, all students must be given the avenues to achieve it. To provide these spaces for the students, the following will be done by the Sangguinan.
a) Increase funding for grants to have budget be used productively. As part of the Central Board, which is the body of the Sanggunian which is given the power to approve budget, I observed that a large portion of money allocated for many Sanggunian initiatives remained unused and therefore remain stagnant. In order to address this, I intend to raise the past budget allocated for grants so that more student groups which have plans and visions that are being hampered by lack of financial resources to be realized.
b) Revisit issues that the Sanggunian has involved itself in the past year and identify areas for action. In the past administration, the Sanggunian made its voice heard through the release of stands and statements on pertinent issues on mining, APECO and the RH Bill. It has recognized the importance of its participation on these issues because as Father Jett Villarin put it, “when the Ateneo speaks, the country listens”. However, it should not just stop here. The next step now is to look at what has happened, see if there was progress and identify what else we can do. To do this, the Committee on Socio Political Affairs in partnership with interested political parties and organizations will be commissioned to look at these different issues and provide avenues for discussion and discourse that is aimed towards action. In the end, my dream for every Atenean to become the change that he or she wants to happen.
Let’s make this happen.