The Ateneo de Naga University Office of Student Affairs (OSA), in partnership with the Philippine Association of Practitioners of Student Affairs and Services (PAPSAS) – Region V, conducted a webinar, “Animating Student Organizations in the New Normal” last July 29, 2020. The webinar, which was livestreamed in Facebook, generated approximately 2,600 views as of writing.
The said webinar is the second in a continuing series conducted by OSA for students. The first, conducted in June 2020, tackled stress management. This recent installment was livestreamed in several pages of schools nationwide, and was attended even by students and SAS practitioners overseas.
The OSA invited two speakers, namely Ralph Jacinto A. Quiblat, director of the Loyola Schools-Office of Student Activities (LS-OSA), Ateneo de Manila University (AdMU), and Juan Carlos S. De Los Reyes, program director of the College Ignatian Formation Program (CIFP) and National Service Training Program (NSTP) of AdNU.
Quiblat, the first speaker, discussed the rationale on why schools and student organizations are shifting to the online platform as the medium of conducting student activities. He cited the guidelines of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) and the Commission on Higher Education (CHED).
As organizations try to be creative in administering their activities, Quiblat stressed that they should be wary of causing online fatigue and social media burnout to their members. He then proceeded to share how organizations of AdMU have adapted to the new normal by doing their activities online – some organizations have used varied social media and video conference applications to conduct webinars, trainings tutorials, advocacy campaigns, while other performing arts groups have made their past and future performances available online.
Quiblat also noted how their office has made their services and formation activities online to their student clients. They have also adjusted their monitoring system in order not to burden student organizations in conducting their activities. He states that collaboration between student affairs offices and student organizations is essential in transitioning in the new normal.
To end his presentation, Quiblat challenged student organizations to not only re-invent themselves and their activities but to respond to the challenges presented by the pandemic by realigning their missions to the needs of their country and their respective communities.
De Los Reyes, the moderator of the Ateneo Junior Eagles, on the other hand, discussed several online websites and applications that student organizations can use in preparing their activities. He presented four (4) steps that student organizations may observe in planning and conducting online meetings and activities: (1) Assess the pros and cons of doing remote/online work for each member, (2) Decide who will facilitate the meeting/activity, (3) Nurture conversation to engage members/participants, and (4) Use the most suitable technology for everyone.
De Los Reyes also presented several online applications, such as Google Jamboard, Google Meet, Google Docs, Mentimeter, that have helped his organizations in conducting their activities during the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ). He later presented a small video presentation of their relief operations to various communities in Naga during the lockdown; he notes that although the activities were physically conducted, their planning and organizations were via online applications and platforms.
Majority of the participants of the webinar came from various schools or universities around the country; there were some participants who came from neighboring countries, such as Indonesia. A representative from the PAPSAS-National and several student leaders from AdNU and other universities, such as Universidad de Sta. Isabel (USI) and Central Bicol State University of Agriculture (CBSUA) partook in the open forum by sharing their respective reactions to the presentations of the speakers.
The webinar was conducted with the help and support from the following: Office of Mission and Identity and Office of the President.