AS THE school year begins, different academic societies start to map out their activities for students.

“On the first day of class, we conduct room-to-room orientations about the council’s programs and activities and how can these endeavors help the students understand the course better,” Architecture Student Council president Micaela Christina Uy told the Varsitarian.

Symposiums, assemblies, review sessions or tutorials and quiz bees are some of the activities that academic societies organize to help students cope with the demands of college life.

“We aspire for academic excellence, that’s why we always organize activities that aim to broaden the knowledge and awareness of every member,” Biology Society president Florence Rochelle Gan said.

The societies also provide recreational activities during the week-long foundation anniversary of a college or faculty.

“We prepare a lot of activities for the Nursing week like parades, pageants, concerts, game shows and sports fest,” Nursing Central Board of Students president Jim Eduard Trinidad said.

“We use all means of communication dissemination like instant messengers, yahoo groups per batch, bulletin boards, and posters. We even meet with the class presidents so that they will be the ones to make the announcement to their respective classes,” Networks of Electronics and Communications Engineering Students president Gino Antonio Reyes said.

Funds on the run

Despite the diversity of their activities, academic societies lack funding.

Unlike the College of Nursing, College of Architecture and AMV College of Accountancy—academic societies that also function as student councils—the Faculty of Arts and Letters, College of Science, Faculty of Pharmacy, and Faculty of Engineering have several academic societies because they have different academic programs.

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In most instances the academic societies end up with no funding at all. “With regards to allocation of funds, the dean’s office states that the projects should benefit the whole engineering community. So what happens to us? Our seminars and projects are simply not applicable to other majors,” Reyes said.

While student councils receive funding from their respective college’s budget appropriation, academic societies rely solely on the membership fees collected from students. Although the Student Activity Fund (SAF) could be tapped to finance student activities, most academic societies could hardly utilize them.

“It is difficult to get money through the SAF because it takes a long time before the Dean’s office approves it,” Medical Technology president Laila Grace Marquez said.

Accountancy Student Council president Ronn Robby Rosales agreed, saying that funds are not easy to obtain even if the student councils have fiscal autonomy.

“Whenever we pass our project proposals, the dean does not grant most of them and it takes a long time to get hold of the money,” Rosales said.

Perhaps because there’s no money to fund relevant programs by the academic societies, society members are apathetic.

Electronics and Communications Engineering student Lawrence Almario believes academic societies can do better.

“Organizations have sensible activities, but they fail to excuse the students from their classes. This is where I think they should improve,” he said.
Journalism senior Katherine Anne Laurio said the Journalism Society should hold academic-related activities.

“The activities of the society unfortunately always focus on the Journ-Oympics and the annual acquaintance party,” Laurio said. Carla Rose R. Malupeng

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