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IgniteChange: Atenean Student Leaders converge at the 36th Buklod Atenista (BA) Leaders Summit

by Renz Marion Suarez and Sharmaine Canama, The Beacon Publications Correspondents

In pursuit of achieving progressive development for the country, college-level student leaders from five Ateneo Universities converge at the 36th Buklod Atenista Leaders Summit held last April 30 to May 3, 2019 at the Ateneo de Manila University. AdZU’s El Consejo Atenista (ECA) participated in the four-day summit with the theme “Igniting Ateneo Servant Leadership Towards Student Centeredness and Social Action” to draft resolutions and gather knowledge about emerging issues in the country.

Accompanied by ECA moderator, Ms. Sitti Chua, AdZU representatives were composed of incumbent ECA President Kaheya Leigh Teaño and Buklod Atenista Ambassador Sophia Thearese Gallego. Gracing the event with her presence, Ms. Chua also delivered a speech on the identity and purpose of Buklod Atenista.“We are here not to agree and disagree, but to discern and discuss.” Ms. Sitti Chua said.

 “The El Consejo Atenista adheres to its policy of Unity, Progress, and Sustainability in its different initiatives. It is the growing responsibility of Consejo to ensure that those who are passionate to pursue a path of leadership are noticed, trained, and formed to the best of their abilities. In line with being part of the Office of the Buklod Ambassador as an extension of Buklod Atenista, it is our duty and responsibility to create avenues for the students to know and deeply understand the essence of Buklod, and why we gather biannually for our respective universities. We aim for the students to be socially aware and interactive to fully become agents of change in their own communities, and at the same time respond to what they heed, to be able to create solutions through legislation and action”. Ms. Sophia Gallego said in an interview.

Gallego and other Buklod Ambassadors called for board resolutions on pressing issues in the Philippines, like the Chinese Debt Trap, agrarian reform, death penalty, Press Freedom, and Red Tagging, along with the priority issues of each University. The Conference determined 20 Board Resolutions from the Buklod Ambassadors and from the Council of Leaders Assembly (COA/COLA/COL: the umbrella organization of all the accredited organizations).

AdZU ECA Vice President and Council of Leaders Assembly (COLA) Chair, Giosimon Dimaculangan, Fathyma J. Ismael – Nursing Academic Organization Vice-Governor, and Indira Salih – Former Department of Student Development & Leadership Undersecretary (El Consejo Atenista) also attended the said forum.

Aside from AdZU, four other Jesuit Universities were present in the summit, namely the Ateneo de Manila University, Ateneo de Davao University, Ateneo de Naga University, and Xavier University – Ateneo de Cagayan.

More than bridging alliances and connections among the Jesuit schools, the biannual convention of the student leaders was anchored on its goal of building a stronger foundation for all Ateneo Universities through empowering student servant leadership towards addressing national issues and achieving change within and beyond the universities.