OUTGOING officials of Central Student Council (CSC) are confident they would leave behind accomplishments consistent with their mission to uphold the rights and interests of students.

CSC president Ina Vergara said the council managed to achieve their seven-point agenda this academic year but admitted their performance could have been better.

“There’s no perfect administration and we gave our utter best. I still want to do a lot, but I think the next batch would hopefully sustain what we have started this year. There’s always room for improvement,” she said.

Despite the promises and various efforts of the council, the Students’ Code still remains ten years overdue since the initial draft in 2004.

Vergara said the council was still editing the Students’ Code after a meeting with deans. She said the revised code would be submitted to the regents and the Rector this month and upload it online.

“The Students’ Code also encompasses our duties as students. We have our rights and we have our responsibilities,” Vergara said. “This is what differentiates [Thomasians] from others.”

Fulfilled promises

The CSC’s seven-point agenda–R.O.A.R. for U.S.T.—was intended to uphold the rights and interests of the Thomasian community, Vergara said.

The seven-point agenda involved the following: “Recognition of Thomasian identity; Optimal financial stability and transparency; Advocacy on health and wellness; Responsive governance on nation building; Unified information dissemination; Sustainable environmental campaigns; and Thomasian students’ rights.”

Among the several projects of the CSC this academic year, only the “Roar App” has not yet been fulfilled but the application is now on its trial and budget approval period.

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Vergara said the council would try to have it released before the change in administration.

The Roar App, proposed by CSC public relations officer Jacob See, aims to send announcements from the CSC to students through smartphones.

Another project was the “Tomasino Para sa Bayan Nation Watch,” which allowed the CSC’s official media accounts to inform students weekly about national issues with the hashtag, #CSCNationWatch.

The council worked on its environmental agenda with the “Clean As You Go” campaign, wherein signs were put up in different rest rooms on campus. There was also the “Think Green Environmental Summit,” in partnership with the College of Science.

The “Piso Paaral Program,” in coordination with local student councils, gathered one peso per student in a faculty or college of the University to support fellow Thomasians financially. The program already has scholars in the College of Rehabilitation Sciences and the College of Science. A recognition night was attended by 13 scholars last Mar. 30.

CSC secretary Rosvielentine Rosales, who is now running for president, spearheaded the CSC’s official publication R.A.W.R. (Reporting Actions with Resiliency), which was released last Jan. 30.

It is the first installment of a yearly report that covered the council’s activities as well as student feedback. Another report, this time on financial matters, is set to be released by May and is set to be displayed in the Benavides Library for the students to browse, backing the council’s pledge of full transparency.

CSC vice president Ian Bautista has conducted wellness programs that he promised in his campaign last year. He organized this year’s “Wellness Fair,” spearheaded the “Letters to Thomas,” which is a charity project for children, along with Rosales, and co-chaired “Think Green Environmental Summit,” with CSC auditor Patsy Canoza.

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Community development and civic engagements were also given attention by the CSC in partnership with Simbahayan and other local student councils as they went not only for students’ welfare but also paid attention to personnel working inside and outside the university.

The Sampaloc-UST Neighborhood Watch or SUN Watch, a long-time project of the Office of Student Affairs, was modified by Vergara to have a financial literacy seminar for tricycle drivers as well as basic art workshops for their children with the help of the College of Fine Arts and Design student council. Drug test and accreditation of tricycle drivers who operate near Light Rail Train stations around the University—Tayuman, Bambang, and Legarda—were also conducted for security of Thomasians who use both as transportation.

Under Vergara, the CSC also organized the “Welcome Fest” in the first few weeks of July so the activity would not be disrupted by class suspensions due to typhoons. It had been previously held in August or September. Rosales chaired the “Welcome Fest,” while CSC public relations officer Jacob See and Canoza organized the freshman tour.

In line with the CSC’s promise to help with the passage of the Student’s Rights and Welfare (STRAW) Bill, which was proposed over 20 years ago and is still pending at the House Committee on Higher and Technical Education, the CSC conducted a series of activities in support of the STRAW Bill.

The STRAW Bill aims to promote the rights and freedom of students, mainly the right 1) to admission with undue discrimination, 2) to competent instruction and quality of education, 3) to adequate welfare services and academic facilities, 4) to organize student organizations, 5) to organize a student council, 6) to form student commission on elections, 7) to have freedom of expression and academic freedom, 8) to form student publications, 9) to due process in disciplinary proceedings, 10) against unreasonable searches and seizures, and 11) to have access to school records and issuance of officials certificates, among others.

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“For us, the CSC is a liaison between the administrators and the students. We don’t burn bridges but we connect them,” Vergara said.

Meanwhile, receiving flak after denouncing their role in the “Unity Walk” against the proposed tuition hike, the CSC remained firm in their stance that better avenues for voicing out the students’ dismay over the fee increase could have been sought.

“We are of course against the tuition fee increase but we are not against the development of the University. We are co-developers of the University,” Vergara said.

“We also have to consider other factors like the economic growth of the Philippines and the internationalization of UST. So if ever there is an increase, it would be the lowest.”

The CSC announced last March 26 that after several consultations the University administration, the tuition increase would be limited to 2.5 percent, the same as last year’s and one of the lowest increase since 2005.


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