Delegates from the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities (AJCU) in the Asia-Pacific participated in the Collaborative Service Learning Program (CSLP) from August 4 to 27. Aside from Ateneo schools in the Philippines, Jesuit universities such as the Sofia University of Japan, Sogang University from South Korea, and Sanata Dharma University of Indonesia participated in the program.

CSLP links academic learning to social involvement by providing concrete contributions to communities. It taps the skills of students from their respective fields to be applied in solving different community problems.

With the theme “Jesuit Education in the Frontiers of Greater Societal Engagement,” this year’s CSLP incited students to foster social involvement which is rooted in core Ignatian principles. The theme is also inspired by the 40th anniversary of Fr. Pedro Arrupe’s historic address, “Men for Others.”

This year’s CSLP centered on the five thematic areas of the XU Research and Social Outreach: peace, good governance, food security, environment, and health. Participants were clustered based on these five areas and were expected to give outputs focused on their assigned theme.

Hosting after seven years

On August 2008, XU became the first university to host the AJCU CSLP. Subsequent CSLPs were held in Indonesia and Cambodia before being brought back again to the Philippines, in Davao and Naga. Since then, the program has undergone dramatic changes as the University hosted AJCU for the second time.

One factor that distinguishes the second AJCU hosting from the first is the level of preparedness. “Compared sa first [AJCU], [this year] we offered a more institutionalized and organized program,” said KKP-SIO Director Nestor Banuag. KKP-SIO also partnered with the Office of International Cooperation and Networking (OICN) in spearheading the program. “We are deploying a lot of volunteers to assist in the program, also we have our partner institutions like the city government and barangay Lumbia,” he added.

The program was maximized through the Xavier Ecoville Project (XEP), the goals of which are to build a self-governing, values-driven, and economically thriving community. “Not a lot of people know this, but there are a lot of ways to serve the community, so one way in serving the community is using their expertise,” explained Colleen Torres, faculty program officer of the Kristohanong Katilingban sa Pagpakabana-Social Involvement Office (KKP-SIO).

Collaborating with ‘Ecoville’

“Basically, the goal is to promote service learning in Jesuit schools in Asia Pacific,” explained Torres. CSLP was grounded on three main objectives: to provide an opportunity for interaction with the community and to facilitate understanding of present social realities; to expose participants to deepening and reflection sessions based on the Ignatian Pedagogical Paradigm, which is geared toward strengthening awareness and commitment to service; and to allow participants to engage in actual community projects for sustainable development.

The three-day immersion of the participants with the residents in Xavier Ecoville became a highlight of CSLP. It allowed the participants to appreciate and to first-handedly experience life in the resettlement community for ‘Sendong’ survivors.

An intensive two-week service learning engagement was set to contribute to the XEP. The good governance cluster dwelled on improving leadership and administrative skills of community leaders, thus resulting to the formulation of a curfew policy among the youth. Meanwhile, the food security cluster helped in providing livelihood and income-generating programs for the residents. To create an environmental-friendly community, the environment cluster focused on teaching solid waste management and segregation. The health cluster, on the other hand, centered on teaching the importance of water and sanitation practices. Lastly, the peace cluster dealt with the deepening of values orientation among XE residents.

Aside from the intensive service learning program, participants also went through educational tours and outings in different key destinations in Region 10 such as the Agutayan Island, Jasaan Cold Springs, and Dahilayan Adventure Park. Next year’s AJCU CSLP will be held in South Korea.C

Xian Louis Patrick ArcayeraNews
Delegates from the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities (AJCU) in the Asia-Pacific participated in the Collaborative Service Learning Program (CSLP) from August 4 to 27. Aside from Ateneo schools in the Philippines, Jesuit universities such as the Sofia University of Japan, Sogang University from South Korea, and Sanata...