XU President leads ceremonial signing of MOU between XU and SLP partners
XU President Fr Mars P Tan, SJ led the ceremonial signing of the Memorandum of Understanding with Xavier Ateneo’s Service Learning Program (SLP) partners on April 19, 2023 at the Engineering Drawing Room in the XU main campus. The event formalized and signified the commitment of the SLP stakeholders for better collaboration and cooperation leading to better outcomes for their respective units/organizations.
In his opening message, Fr Mars emphasized the relevance of service learning in allowing the students to experience real-world situations and gaining deeper understanding of the social issues that can develop the students’ sense of social responsibility to the community and the nation as a whole. “I am filled with gratitude for everyone present here who all play a crucial role in our shared mission,” Fr Mars said.
This academic year, 19 partnerships were forged involving 39 service learning engagements/ projects in 29 academic programs across seven (7) Colleges. Partner organizations represented in the event include Philippine Island Kids International Foundation Inc. (PIKIFI), CDO Technical Vocational Institute, La Buena Vida Homeowners Association, Xavier Heights Subdivision Homeowners Association Inc., MORESCO - 1, BLGU Macasandig, MLGU Alubijid, Department of Agriculture - Regional Office 10, Department of Science and Technology - Region 10, and the Commission on Higher Education - Region 10. XU signatories include Fr Mars Tan SJ, Engr Dexter Lo, Vice President for Social Development, and the respective Deans of the College of Arts and Sciences, College of Agriculture, College of Nursing, College of Computer Studies, and the School of Business and Management. Also present in the signing were the students and faculty who are involved in the current service learning projects.
The engagements and projects include, among others:
- Assessment of Marine Flora and Fauna in the Coastal Barangays of the Municipal LGU of Alubijid in Misamis Oriental (marine biology students under the College of Arts and Sciences)
- Energy Audit of the XU Main Campus (mechanical and electrical engineering students)
- Designing of Events Management Information System (EvMIS) for CHEd-10 (computer studies students)
- Social Responsibility Project with Integration of Leadership and Management; Identification of Health Problems in the Community (nursing students)
- Assistance to MORESCO-1 Electric Cooperatives in Designing and Enhancing Products & Services, and Marketing Strategies (business administration students)
- Designing Educational Interventions in Selected Educational Institutions and Organizations (School of Education students)
- Enhancing Competitiveness of IP and Rural Products in the Local and International Market (agribusiness students under the College of Agriculture)
Mayor Emmanuel Jamis, the Municipal Mayor of LGU Alubijid, Misamis Oriental expressed his gratitude to Xavier University for choosing their LGU as partner in many of the university’s programs. He especially cited how the Municipality has achieved zero open-defecation through the committed engagements of the students of the College of Medicine. He hopes that the partnership will allow further learning and capacity on both XU and the LGU.
Ms Virgie Demata, Executive Director of the Philippine Island Kids International Foundation Inc., a thriving local non-government organization catering to abused, trafficked, and children in street situations, also thanked Xavier University for reaching out to the Foundation through the Service Learning Program. “The increasing number of beneficiaries requires us to improve our program delivery, so we believe that this partnership with Xavier University is really a blessing and divine providence for us,” Ms. Demata said. She hopes that the partnership will benefit both XU and the Foundation.
For his part, the President of the Xavier Heights Subdivision Homeowners Association Inc., Atty. Rhobert Maestre, expressed the timeliness of the SLP engagements as the Association embarks on ambitious projects including a water cooperative that will benefit the 1,700 households of more than 30,000 population. And since the Association has won over a complaint made to the subdivision developers, the assessment of roads and canals is required for action to be taken. Thus, Atty Maestre really awaits the recommendations from the study by the students on microbial and physico-chemical water quality assessment and on the subdivision roads and canals, among the other engagements. He appreciates how service learning not just emphasizes the academic aspect of learning but he sees it as the Ignatian values in action.
XU Vice President for Social Development, Engr Dexter Lo, concluded the event by thanking the SLP partners for trusting XU to serve and learn with them. He also expressed his gratitude and appreciation to the Deans, Assistant Deans, Department Chairs, and faculty for embracing another level of work in service learning. He highlighted how the community utilizes the outputs and services of the students, and thus this appreciation will be a wonderful invitation to the XU community as well. Moreover, he motivated the students by reminding them of their potent capabilities in making an impact to society using their acquired knowledge, skills and values, and challenged them to make it a part of their lives and spirituality.
Service Learning Program is a flagship social formation program institutionalized in 2016, and lodged under the Social Development Cluster. It is a teaching pedagogy that integrates meaningful community service and social formation with the classroom-based theoretical learning. SLP is managed by a team of Formators and College SD Coordinators led by the Program Director, Ms Gail de la Rita.
CHED Region 10 represented by Dr Desiderio Apag III, Chief ADministrative Officer, and Mark Godfrey Torres, Education Supervisor II