Let us admit it, when we think of the word bayanihan, the usual first thing that comes to mind is a nipa hut being carried by a bunch of people for relocation. Bayanihan, which literally means “being a bayan”, is a known Filipino culture that emanates the spirit of collaboration and teamwork among the members of a community to achieve their common goals. This was the inspiration behind “Bayanihan para sa Carolinian”, the theme of the recently concluded Carolinian Summit 2015.
The Carolinian Summit is an annual project spearheaded by the Supreme Student Council (SSC) to gather Carolinian student leaders in a two-day and one-night event of holistic development through talks by renowned individuals, team building activities, open forums and other activities. The event was once exclusive to members of student organizations, but as it progressed year after year, it started to welcome students who are not part of any organization as well. Now on its fourth installment, the event imparted the concept of bayanihan to further express the essential value of teamwork and identity in leadership through its activities held at the CAFA Building last June 3 to 4.
The morning of the first day presented speakers who shared their insights on inoculating bayanihan in leadership. The first speaker was Patricia Mendoza, the animation department head of the University of Cebu – Banilad and the creative director of Eko Lifestyle Magazine, Hiyas Kayumanggi and Funxions First. She talked about the youth of today, the “digital natives” who grew up with technology at their fingertips, and how they can utilize it to lead and foster change effectively by treating the internet as a “global library” they can learn from, reading more, posting status updates that reflect a good representation of one’s family, school, city and country, seeing their country for its potentials, and choosing not to be silent when they have solutions to offer for problems. She expressed how being part of the youth is not a hindrance in making a difference as she said, “Your maturity is not defined by your age, but by your responsibilities and how well you handle them.”
The second speaker was Atty. Orvi Ortega, a USC Law alumnus who was once a municipal councilor of Argao and a provincial board member of the second provincial district of Cebu and who now serves in Cebu’s provincial legal office. “Each of us has a leader in us, but first we have to lead ourselves,” he told the audience before he cited three virtues one must have in order to do so: discipline, or the act to control oneself; humility, or doing what one can do for others without necessarily broadcasting it; and love for humanity and public service, or acquiring power to serve and not to be served. “You combine these virtues and all the modern technology you have today and you become good leaders of this generation,” Ortega concluded.
The last speaker was Rustie Quintana, known for gracing the national headlines for graduating as a development communication student at the Xavier University – Ateneo de Cagayan (XU) and garnering awards and achievements even when he started off as a street kid. He inspired the audience with his life story, imprinted with tales of getting separated from his family, exposing himself to drugs and getting in and out of rescue centers and being arrested. They were then followed with feats of redemption — acquiring his basic education diploma through the Alternative Learning System (ALS) of the Department of Education, discovering his love for art through Deri Husi Initiatives, Inc., a group that gets kids off the streets through art, and eventually getting a scholarship at XU. Now Quintana uses what he has learned by sharing his knowledge to street kids to encourage them to aim higher and get themselves off the streets, too. “We have to pass on what we know instead of just keeping it to ourselves,” he said in Cebuano.
He further shared about his other ventures of forming mission-driven organizations and joining national art contests to fulfill his visions and dreams. As a closing remark, he played for the audience a flute number he composed entitled Palipad Hangin.
The afternoon of the second day was spent through the Amazing Race, facilitated by 2Xplore Outdoor Classroom. The participants of the Summit were grouped into 14 teams or barangays and were tasked to perform challenges in stations located all around the Talamban Campus. All of the teams did as many challenges as they could within the two-hour time limit. Afterward, they gathered again for group sharing and general discussion of what they have learned from the activity. In the end, Barangay Barriolet was awarded athe winner of the activity.
The first day ended with the Socials Night that unleashed entertainment and established a moment of camaraderie among the participants.
The second day opened with the S.O. Plug, in which participating student organizations were given the chance to promote themselves and their advocacies, goals and upcoming projects. Among those who presented were co-curricular organizations such as College of Education Student Organization, Society of Young Business Executives and Entrepreneurs, Collegiate Engineering Council, CAFA Council, Junior Philippine Pharmacists Association – Pi Chapter and Biology Integrated Organization, and extra-curricular organizations like TEDxUniversityofSanCarlos, Department of Science and Technology Scholars Association in USC, Safety First, USC Pathways, Philippine Junior Jaycees, Inc. – USC Chapter, Youth for Christ – USC, USC Mountaineers, Junior Financial Executives, Carolinian Camera Guild and Carolinian Debate Society.
The second day and the whole event ended with Talk to Your SSC, in which student-related concerns were raised by the participants of the summit and possible solutions to them were discussed together with the SSC. The upcoming projects of the SSC were presented, such as a student dialogue with them to be held twice every semester, an educational discussion caravan, a case study of the socio-economic status of the average Carolinian, and the release of the official SSC website, a formal information dissemination system equipped with an online bulletin board of announcements and a complaints and grievances system especially for problems related to school fees. There will also be other activities, such as a meeting with the security agencies of the university and the Office of the Student Affairs in Downtown and Talamban Campus regarding the inconsistency of implementing school policies, and a move to support student initiatives that aim to foster the Warriors spirit. Other issues were also raised, such as unnecessary rules in the student manual, the ongoing development of university facilities, updates on the Magna Carta for Student Rights, and the burdensome enrollment through ISMIS.
“Creating change in USC is a joint responsibility of the students and the SSC,” SSC president Marc Ong said as a closing remark. Indeed, a collaborative effort of the SSC, the student organizations and the student individuals is needed to make a difference in and for the university — a common goal for the people in USC. No nipa huts will be moved without the help of one or the other. A sense of bayanihan is essential for successful leadership — an idea that the fourth Carolinian Summit has effectively imparted.