(L-R) CSC president Krizia Bricio; vice president Gerald de la Cruz; secretary Arnet Paguirigan and public relations officer Gabriele de Lara

THE FIRST set of UST Central Student Council (CSC) officers elected during the pandemic will end their terms in a few days, with some campaign promises fulfilled and some yet to be completed.

The CSC said they remained in dialogue with the UST administrators for the safe return of face-to-face (F2F) classes to the University, which was one of their priority issues.

“The council, together with the administration in many open dialogue sessions, has worked hand-in-hand with the strategic prioritization of each degree program,” CSC Public Relations Officer Gabriele de Lara told the Varsitarian.

“Together with the administration, we also looked into the need to address and re-accommodate the room capacities for each degree program along with the maintenance of each to ensure that all equipment and facilities can provide a safe and healthy environment,” he added.

CSC Secretary Arnet Paguirigan said the council was consulted by administrators regarding the student concerns on F2F classes.

“We have really close communication with the Office of the Secretary General and Office for Student Affairs,” Paguirigan said, “[The administrators] would always help us, and they would also address to us their concerns as administrators, and they would consult us.”

CSC President Krizia Milleny Bricio said the council also had to be updated with the guidelines and procedures set by the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd).

“Hindi pwedeng isang bagsakan mag-F2F lahat ng programs sa UST because marami ‘yung students natin and hindi possible na we still maintain the protocols and guidelines kapag isang bagsakan na lahat ng students sabay-sabay,” Bricio said.

Unified academic breaks

In Academic Year 2021-2022, UST implemented several academic breaks. However, some of these breaks lasted only two days—often in the middle of the week—and were criticized by Thomasians for being too short.

De Lara, who had vowed to make academic breaks “unified,” said the council could only do so much given the guidelines set by CHEd.

CHEd implements a certain contact hour requirement for private higher education institutions, which UST needs to meet.

The CSC public relations officer said the council did not push for longer breaks as these could lead to an extended academic calendar.

“Narinig naman natin yung concerns ng students na maikli `yung time ng academic breaks, but that would have been [better] na rin instead of having none at all,” de Lara said.

“Aminado kami na hindi siya perfect right now, but of course, we hope that the next student council officers who will represent the student body will continue to fight for the implementation of these academic breaks,” he added.

Policy, advocacy-driven CSC

Bricio said that under her presidency, the CSC officers fulfilled their initial plans of making a more efficient, “policy-driven” student council.

She said a lot of petitions addressing the concerns of the student body were forwarded by the executive board to UST administrators, which led to changes in rules and guidelines.

Bricio also said the council was about to conduct a student referendum to start revising the CSC Constitution, which was one of her campaign platforms last year.

Keeping within her promise of “leading the process” of the constitutional revision, Bricio said she hoped the drafting would start by next academic year.

“Regardless na hindi pa man na-start ‘yung constitution revision, I can say that the efficient student council, mas na-improve siya this year because of how the Central Board and Executive Board work efficiently. We were able to do our tasks efficiently,” Bricio said.

Paguirigan said that out of the 23 projects of the council this year, the majority were advocacy projects for inclusivity and community development.

The CSC conducted several webinars and online projects this year, including the Women’s Month webinar and concert night, “YOUth Decides” campaign for the 2022 national elections, “Safe Spaces,” “AdLikha,” “Take Charge,” and “ADULThings 2.0.”

“I’m proud to say that we really did our best, the CSC right now, to execute not just policy-driven but advocacy-based [programs],” Paguirigan said. with reports from Adrian Parungao and Jacqueline Martinez


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