To strengthen student collaboration amid and despite the pandemic, at least 250 organization representatives from UP Diliman attended the University’s first-ever virtual student leadership summit with the theme “Pamumuno, Pagkakaisa, at Pagkilos sa Panahon ng Pandemya” on November 27 and 28, 2020 through Zoom Video Conferencing.

“Generation Z comprises a huge portion of the population, so we can just imagine the power of the youth sector itself in organizing and engaging other sectors of the country,” co-founder of Kilos Ko Youth and former University of the Philippines Diliman University Student Council (UPD USC) Chairperson JP Delas Nieves said.

As the whole nation moves into uncharted waters, the University recognizes its role in providing avenues for student-leaders to find their purpose and engage and empathize with people beyond the portals of the campus in order to effectively forward various interests, causes, and advocacies. For the longest time, different perspectives coming from various formations make the UPD student sector strong and unique. With this, incumbent UP Diliman Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Louise Jashil (Loujaye) Sonido acknowledged the “power and necessity of [the students’] voice.”

In a series of educational discussions, Mx. Delas Nieves, Mx. Raymond Palatino, Prof. Maricris Acido-Muega, UP Diliman Gender Office (UP DGO) SOGIE Officer Gio Potes, and UP Diliman Office of Anti-Sexual Harassment (UPD OASH) Coordinator TP De Luna talked about pressing issues on organizing, student ethics, gender sensitivity, and sexual harassment.

While organizations and student councils continue to conduct activities and events today even at a time of a pandemic—facing a “brave new world” as described by Kabataan Partylist co-founder Palatino—necessary measures for the protection of students’ rights and welfare must be continuously implemented and revisited. Acido-Muega highlighted the need for students to observe codified rules—though the UP Student Code does remain “a living document”—which are essential in promoting the well-being of students throughout their organization life. Meanwhile, Potes and De Luna focused on issues relating to SOGIE, sexual harassment, and gender sensitivity. During the workshops, which were led by Potes and UPD USC Vice Chairperson Richard Pagaduan, participants were able to learn from each other’s experiences in their respective organization/s, specifically on ways to create a safe and inclusive environment for their members.

Lahat ng pagsisikap na ito ay upang magkaroon ng masigla at aktibong representasyon ang mga estudyante ng UP… Sa kasaysayan, naipakita na napakalaki ng naging papel ng mga estudyante sa pagkilos at sa pagpapanawagan para sa mas mabuting kalagayan hindi lamang sa UP, kundi para na rin sa lahat ng sektor ng lipunan,” said UPD OSPA coordinator Crizel Sicat-de Laza.

Sicat-de Laza ended the program with a reminder for the student-leaders to courageously answer the call to serve the University and the people even in these trying times.

Students can fully access the webinar at Bigkisan 2020 was moderated by Potes, Pagaduan, UP Diliman College of Education Student Council (UPD CESC) Chairperson Eugene Solla, and UPD CESC Vice Chairperson Kian Noguera.