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USG, OSAAR cultivate student leadership in AYSLS 2024


Article by: Therese Anne B. Cruz

Photo by: Aliza Belle C. Dayao


Committed to developing and improving the leadership skills of student leaders of the University, the University Student Government (USG) – composed of the Central Student Council, Council of Organizations, and Council of Presidents – together with the Office of Student Affairs and Alumni Relations (OSAAR), the Alfonso Yuchengco Student Leaders’ Summit (AYSLS) 2024 was held last March 1, with the theme, “Igniting Passions, Surpassing Barriers,” at the Intramuros Campus Gymnasium. 



The program consisted of six symposiums with various speakers discussing topics such as improving leadership skills, budget planning, event planning and social media literacy, and sociopolitical issues initiative.  


The first speaker of the event was Dr. Jagdeep Jassel, Dean of Mapua University’s (MU) E.T. Yuchengco School of Business (ETYSB). In his talk, Dr. Jagdeep discussed the adaptability and flexibility of being a leader, wherein he explained the concept of VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity) - a constant challenge that leaders face.  


However, the ETYSB Dean further explained that these challenges can be conquered, “So volatility is combated with your vision. That's what you need to have as a leader. You need to have a purpose. You need to have a vision. And then when you speak about uncertainty, you need to understand your market. You need to understand how to anticipate what the next thing is going to happen in your geographical area, wherever you are competing, wherever you are fighting, and then complexity to clarity and last but not least, agility. Now, the word agility here means your flexibility. Can you adapt? Can you change? 


When asked about the essential traits that students should foster under his administration, Dr. Jagdeep explained the difference between attitude and personality, “…You cannot observe attitudes. What we observe is personality. A person coming late to work continuously is the personality. But what triggers that personality is attitude. So, to me, the most important trait is being mindful of your attitude. Your attitude has to be constructive. You cannot be destructive. 


As the second speaker, Mr. Raul B. Tan discussed how to properly manage finances and budgeting. The Executive Vice President - Chief Operating Officer (COO) and Treasurer mentioned that there’s more than just financing and budgeting, “When you talk about budget, you also talk about a revenue and what is the expense to achieve something.“ 


The COO also instructed leaders to be thorough in their planning, “So, set a target that is measurable, quantifiable, realistic, but challenging. [..] Try to be very specific about what you need to do. Understand all the processes you need to get into that, so that you mitigate the risk that you will go about your expense budget. 


Following that, MU alumna and former COP Chairperson Ms. Anjella Leal expounded on the procedures of event planning, from brainstorming, determining objectives, canvassing resources, identifying tools needed to promote the event, documentation, up to the evaluation of the concluded event. Moreover, Ms. Leal delved into the student leaders’ responsibility in social media.  


Lagi niyo lang tatandaan na always be critical whenever you consume something online or read something online. And then, kapag magpopost kayo, dapat maraming beses niyo siya iniisip. Especially kayo na student leaders who represent your organizations, your student councils.” the alumna emphasized.  


In the following symposium with the topic “Sociopolitical Issues Initiative,” Hon. Sarah Jane Elago, former Kabataan Partylist representative for the 17th and 18th Congress, discussed the importance of youth empowerment in nation-building, collective leadership, and meaningful participation in championing civic engagement, particularly in creating safe spaces. “Being the hope of the nation, being the hope of the motherland is more of a challenge for all of us to offer sacrifice, to commit even our time, our talents, our efforts to help serve the people, serve our communities, to help uplift the lives of our constituents, not just here in Mapúa.” 


She also pointed out the relevance of the youth’s involvement in sociopolitical issues and how its inclusion in the conversations about national issues will bring more ideas and actions to solutions. “Youth participation can also produce better informed decisions and outcomes. This has been included in various important documents. From the Sustainable Development Goals, our SDGs, we have the “Future We Want” document in Rio Plus 20 that recognizes that opportunities for people to influence their lives and future are fundamental for sustainable development.” 

 

Also in attendance was Atty. Chel Diokno, a lawyer and human rights advocate who highlighted the importance of human rights and how upholding said rights is crucial in today’s sociopolitical climate. “Liberty natin ang freedom of expression natin, kasama natin sa pagkatao yan.”, With this, he also added the importance of being wary, “We have to be vigilant. We must always be conscious of the situation and as much as possible push back when there are questions.”  


When asked how can one become a better leader in advocating human rights, he responded with what human rights could mean for the Filipinos, “Because of accountability, because of empowerment and equality. Malaking bagay para sa ating mga Pilipino ang mga values nay an, and human rights delivers that for us.”  


Lastly, former CSC President Engr. Paul Hendrik Cortez shared his experiences on being a Mapúan student leader, “In the face of adversities, consistency is your compass.”  

 

Engr. Cortez also provided five pointers on how to be a great Mapúan leader by introducing a baket list – a system consisting of communication and connection, time management, accountability, and rest to progress, “Mapuan leadership is messy; if it weren’t, it wouldn’t be colorful. Be consistent while being messy.”  

 

After the symposiums, a coordination and interaction activity was also held, followed by the commitment of the student leaders spearheaded by COP Chairperson Sway Naomi Dalisay, COO President Hannah Daenielle Tan, and CSC President Janna Fei Mari Lucea. The closing remarks were delivered by Mr. Bobeth Castillo Jr. wherein he acknowledged the event as an avenue to become better leaders, “This is a great opportunity from every one of us here, […] let’s always grab the opportunity to grow, to explore and become better versions of ourselves.”  

 

AYSLS, named after former statesman Alfonso T. Yuchengco, is a leadership summit event where the University’s student leaders gather to exchange, communicate, and engage in discussions to address social issues and develop effective leadership. The first AYSLS was held in 2021 via online platforms, while this year marks the first in-person version of the summit. 

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