The Presidentâ€™s Letter Mindanao State University Alumni Association, Inc. Iligan City, Philippines
Vol. 2, No. I, Jan 2012
In the Year of the Rabbit (2011) We dreamed We converted ideas to action We mobilized resources We responded to A tragedy Planning for the 50th Jubilee and Beyond The year 2011 cut a deep groove in the memory of the alumni for two equally defining events: the grand celebration of the golden founding anniversary of the Mindanao State University and the devastating catastrophe - the unprecedented havoc to lives and properties wrought by Storm Sendong in the cities of Iligan and Cagayan de Oro in the fading days of December. The year incidentally marked the assumption to office of a new set of officers and members of the Board of Directors of the MSUAA in the first day of January. The first order of the day was for the new leadership to do strategic planning and charter the course and directions of the Association within the next two years and beyond. In a nutshell, the Strategic Plan was laid on the following cornerstones: 1. Strengthening MSUAAâ€™s partnership with the University 2. Enhancing community services 3. Improving organizational functionality 4. Expanding chapter membership 5. Developing more member services The new leadership believes that the existence of MSUAA would only have meaning if its talents and resources are primarily tapped and used in helping the Alma Mater exercise her mandates, realize her goals and attain her objectives, parallel to helping the alumni realize their true potential in society. To translate this perception to action requires strengthening the ties, fostering the unity and enhancing the link of the alumni with the University in the joint march to sustainable and responsible development. Milestones Indeed, in 2011 all thoughts converged and were focused on the preparation for the 50th founding anniversary of the Mindanao State University. The MSUAA leadership joined hands with the University administration in fashioning the key activities of the historic celebration. Among others, the following milestones were reached and passed in the 2011 journey: The Presidentâ€™s Letter
1. Grand Alumni Jubilee Homecoming and Reunion 30 August to 02 September 2011 were packed with activities designed to entertain and play to the wishes of some 600 or more visiting alumni and their families coming from the different parts of the globe.
entirely different perspective. The cruisers also relished on a packed lunch of pure Maranaw dishes. Some alumni who did not join the cruise opted to have an early visit to their former residences and colleges and there met friends, classmates and past acquaintances. The rest explored the campus on foot and were stunned by its massive transformation. The once gentle, cool and silent abode of scholars had turned
into a warm, noisy metropolis of informal settlers, on whose slopping terrains mushroomed illegal and irrational structures. The University through the CHARM tendered an alumni fellowship dinner on a Spartan pay-what-you-eat basis at the former Summit Inn. Audience participated games and brief cultural presentations stimulated liveliness in the crowd. The affair that evening was perked up by the release of 50 floating red lanterns to the dark and rainy skies courtesy of the Royal Griffins. It was cool, nostalgic and mystical.
There was this Lake Cruise on the 30th of August of which some 80 or so daring alumni took, escorted by Marines and PNP personnel almost half their number. The cruise in local crafts brought many alumni for the first time right there in the heart of the alluring beauty that is Lake Lanao and gave them a view of Marawi City and the MSU campus from an
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31 August 2011 was set apart as Alumni Day. The day was highlighted by the parade of alumni in the main thoroughfares of the campus, the unveiling of the foundation markers of the proposed Alumni Center, the alumni homecoming program at the old but refurbished
Science Lecture Hall, the luncheon picnic at the golf course, dorm visitation, games and college homecoming and fellowships. The alumni activities in the evening were prefaced and abbreviated by a Pagana Meranao, a very colourful and fashionable Maranao dinner tendered by the University administration for alumni and distinguished guests of the University. 1.1. Bolawan Award. In the evening of 31st August, the MSU Alumni Association conferred the Golden Jubillee Award, tagged as the Bolawan Award, to non-alumni who helped fashion the growth and development of the University. The award was given to 16 distinguished individuals, within and outside the service of the University that included a past university president, a former mailman, a private photographer, and the first cashier of the university cafeteria.
Aside from the Sarimanok Award, select personnel of the University were also recognized and awarded for distinct and exemplary performances and for their loyal and long services to the University.
The Gala Night featured, among others, a square dance performed by selected faculty and staff, an array of finger foods, and a grand firework at the University oval. The jubilee celebration spilled to a joyous unlimited eat-drink-dance-and-sing Golden Jubilee Fellowship Night at MSU IIT on 02 September, courtesy of the campus management and the local MSUAA.
1.2. Sarimanok Award. On Gala Night of 01 September 2011, 50 alumni across disciplines were conferred by the University the Sarimanok Award for their distinguished and outstanding performance and contribution to the Alma Mater and society. The 50 awards symbolized
the 50 years of existence of the University.
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The alumni and MSUans in Metro Manila hosted likewise on 11 September a very hospitable Golden Jubilee Party held at the Veterans Memorial Hospital, Quezon City. The gathering was graced by several guests and MSU officials from different university campuses, and was defined and remembered for the merry mass dancing and bottomless drinks of oneâ€™s choice. The bacchanalian-almost mood actually developed on the 29th August at MSU Naawan where the Campus Chancellor single-handedly entertained and satisfied the hungry and thirsty
alumni homecomers from different nooks of the world with his beer-ahan, puso-sugba-kilaw and cultural show package. 2. Alumni Center The MSUAA management negotiated and finally secured from the University administration a 500-meter square more or less space for the establishment of the MSU Alumni Center. The marker for the Center was unveiled by the MSUAA President in a brief ceremony on Alumni Day, witnessed by University officials and throngs of alumni who participated in the Alumni Day parade.
The Alumni Center is a pet project of MSUAA Marawi Campus Chapter. The construction of the foundations of the Center
began last November 2011 under the leadership of the outgoing Chapter President, Norkaya Mohamad. The MSUAA considers the Alumni Center as a continuing institutional commitment and will rally supports from alumni worldwide for its eventual completion.
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3. Charter/Policy and Program Review Where are we now after 50 years? What happened along the journey? And where are we going to? After 50 years of existence, we really need to pause and reflect deeply on what happened, why and where we are now. This reflection is crucial in defining the next journey, the course, the direction, the thrust for next half century or so. This is the advocacy of the present MSUAA management, expressed and articulated in alumni gatherings, in meetings with university officials and members of the Board of Regents.
Fortunately, the university administration is also concerned with the above imperative in this period of the Universityâ€™s existence. A Charter Review Committee has been created, thus, tasked to precisely review the Act that created the MSU and other legal issuances bearing on its operations. The aim is to propose a new Charter for approval by the government that would empower the University in delivering services that respond to and are attuned to the challenges and needs of the times. The output of the Committee is in the offing and will soon be submitted for review by the Board of Regents, where the MSUAA President is a member. In the same vein, the University Management has scheduled an assembly of officials and planners to conduct system strategic planning for the academic institution. The exercise will necessitate the review of the status, thrusts and programs, the issues and problems obtaining in the component campuses of the University and the university system as a Page 4
whole. The MSUAA has already signified its intention to the MSU management to send experts to the strategic planning exercise scheduled in February 2012. 4. Professorial Chairs The MSUAA Board of Directors approved to sponsor/to the creation of two professorial chairs in the University â€“ A professorial chair in peace and development and another on climate change and the environment. A budget of P20, 000/chair has been allocated for the purpose. The guidelines for the appointment to the chairs have been prepared by the BOD Academic Enhancement Committee. The selection of the grantees which may need the concurrence of the University management remains to be done this Second Semester, AY 2011-2012. 5. Undergraduate Scholarship Grants Three (3) undergraduate scholarship slots are available this Second Semester, AY 2011-2012, for students of MSU IIT (2 slots) and MSU Naawan (1 slot) with a budget of P17, 250.00/student or a total of P69, 000 for one academic year. The grant covers tuition and miscellaneous fees, books and monthly stipends. The scholar from MSU Naawan is Jusua D. de Pena, a third year student in marine biology. Since AY 2008-2009, the MSUAA Naawan Chapter has been supporting two scholars per annum and also awards thesis grants to a maximum of four (4) graduating students every year. The two scholars for AY 2011-2012 are: Hanzel de Mira, 3rd year marine biology; and Oxy M. Labandisos, 3rd year business administration. The scholars from MSU IIT have yet to be identified. The MSUAA management is encouraging campus-based MSUAA chapters to launch their own scholarship program to assist intellectually deserving but financially challenged students. It must be noted that MSUeViIlage International (MEVI), an organization of MSU alumni and MSUans in the USA, has also sponsored scholars at MSU The Presidentâ€™s Letter
Marawi and Naawan campus during the last two years. 6. Faculty Enhancement The MSUAA Board of Directors has budgeted P60, 000.00 as seed money for a Summer Teaching Skills Enhancement Program for teachers in English, Math and Science. The target participants are secondary and tertiary teachers, particularly those coming from the newly absorbed campuses/units of the University, namely: the Lanao National School of Arts and Trades; the Maigo School of Arts and Trades; the Lanao College of Agriculture and Technology; and MSU Buug. This skills enhancement program is proposed to be a joint undertaking with the Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs. The primary aim is to improve the quality of instruction in the above core courses. 7. Job Opportunities The advent of the new information technology and the services particularly offered by the Internet has allowed us to connect to alumni worldwide. We have encouraged alumni, especially those in position of influence in their organizations, to post in the Net job openings or employment opportunities, to help new graduates of the University find a living. It is recently observed that the postings in the Net also include scholarship and training opportunities that cater to the needs of the faculty of the University. 8. Expanding Chapter Membership
The MSUAA President visited Puerto Princesa, Palawan in March and met with alumni leaders in the locality with the aim of activating Page 5
the chapter. It is likely that the Palawan Chapter would flex its muscles and send a delegation to the Butuan City Grand Alumni Reunion. The possibility of holding the alumni gathering in Palawan two years from now is titillating. Meanwhile, another alumni chapter may rise in Iligan City to complement the exclusive campusbased chapter in MSU IIT. The alumni couple, Jun and Teta Lumbo of PhilAm, promised to deliver a city chapter to MSUAA, hopefully before the Butuan Reunion.
disastrous experiences the country has gone through which many have attributed to climate change. Tours in the City’s historic sites are in the plan. A visit to Agusan del Sur’s unique wetlands may be opted for core alumni environmentalists. 11. MSUAA Administrative Office
9. BOR Matters The MSUAA President, in his capacity as Alumni Regent, has attended all the quarterly meetings of the Board of Regents, except in the Second Quarter July 2011 meeting where he was represented by the President-in-Waiting, Bob Lim, because of his travel outside the country. As member of the Executive Committee of the BOR, the Alumni Regent has actively participated in reviewing and screening the agenda for the BOR before the same is submitted to the Board en banc for final action. In the December 2011 BOR meeting, the Alumni Regent submitted and secured the imprimatur of the Board on the adjustment of the alumni fee from P100 to P200 to take effect during the Academic Year 2012-2013. The Board has also enjoined MSU campuses to assist the Association in the collection of the fees so the same could be immediately used in supporting the funding requirements of earmarked alumni projects. 10. 2012 Grand Alumni International Reunion Everyone is now looking forward to the biennial Grand Alumni International Reunion to be hosted by the MSUAA Butuan City Chapter in the 4th week of August 2012. Many alumni from outside the country who failed to join the golden jubilee alumni assembly in MSU Marawi intimated to rendezvous with the general alumni community in what was once known as the Lumber City of the South. Aside from the social activities for the occasion, the host Chapter intends to hold a forum on environment and resources in the light of the recent sad and The President’s Letter
We inaugurated and had a ribboncutting and prayer ceremony for our new MSUAA Administrative and Coordinating Office at the MSU IIT campus on 02 September 2011, minutes before the start of the Golden Jubilee Fellowship at the MSU IIT Gym. The space, which is about 15 meters square in area, would also house the local MSUAA MSU IIT Office. It is located at the right wing of the MSU IIT Gym. We recently furnished the office with a new air conditioner, desktop computer, steel cabinet, and office tables and chair. Connection to the MSU IIT Internet line is currently being negotiated. The acquisition of the office space was made possible through the kind intervention of the Campus Chancellor, Dr. Sukarno Tanggol. The good Chancellor did not see it fitting for the MSUAA administrative staff to remain as informal settlers at the Office of the MSU IIT Campus Secretary.
12. Alumni Response Mindanao Tragedy
At no time in history that the MSU alumni community and the University constituents have been mobilized to nearly awesome proportion in response to an unprecedented soul-breaking tragedy spawned by Storm Sendong in the cities of Iligan and Cagayan de Oro. MSUans from all walks of life, here and outside country, got out from their comfort zones and responded to MSUAA fund drive and relief good solicitations for the unfortunate victims of the storm-cum-flash floods disaster.
clothing, health care items, rice, canned goods and bottled waters sourced from Metro Manila alumni and friends have been distributed through the MSU IIT Crisis Committee and through MSUAA chapter volunteers to Sendong victims evacuated at the MSU IIT Gym and in other calamity areas in Iligan City. Shipment of relief goods coming from the outside may reach the country by the end of the month or early February and will already reach the victims in their relocation sites. The solicitation for cash is continued to help meet the needs of the victims in rebuilding their dwellings and in the purchase of basic household items, such as kitchen utensils and sleeping materials.
In three weeks after the disaster the MSUAA has generated some P700, 000.00 and had already disbursed some 80 percent of the funds as cash aids to MSUan victims in Cagayan de Oro and Iligan, reaching some 170 families. The MSUAA chapters in Cagayan de Oro and Iligan City have taken the responsibility of locating and identifying MSUan victims of the tragedy, a very trying task considering the grave devastation and the disappearance of a number of human settlements in the two cities. Medicines,
Storm Sendong claimed more than 1000 lives and left almost an equal number of missing persons, as it traversed Iligan and Cagayan de Oro in the late evening of 16 December 2011 to the early morning of the following day. The hospitals in the two cities overflowed with the injured and the sick; and their funeral parlors had run out of coffins and storage areas to accommodate the remains of recovered victims. Thousands of families were traumatized, rendered homeless, dislocated and deprived of their sources of livelihood. Many have crowded in instant evacuation centers, like public school
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buildings, multi-purpose halls and gyms. Of late, tent relocation centers have started to rise to accommodate evacuees who were eased out from public school building when classes opened for 2012. Challenges After 45 years of existence, the MSUAA is still ridiculously dependent on alumni fees and annual dues for its revenue and source of operating funds. Considering the programs and projects that the Association has launched and has earmarked to undertake, the situation is untenable. The nagging challenge is how to raise more sustainable revenues to put the operations of the Association in even keel. More secured funds would allow the Association to hire a fulltime CEO and a regular staff. With a fulltime and dynamic CEO at the helm of management, funding stability may be assured and the pursuit of programs, projects and activities with meaningful and lasting impact to the alumni community and society may be undertaken and sustained. The purely voluntary character of the current management of the MSUAA handicaps the organization from developing more strength, from improving productivity and assuring sustainability for its programs and projects. The overarching and continuing challenge to the alumni leadership is how to bring the 130,000 alumni of the University into the mainstream of alumni affairs and activities. If this number is effectively tapped, the Association would likely be awash of resources both human and material. The creation of more MSUAA chapters here and outside the country is a path to answering the challenge. More cohesive alumni chapters would mean more participation, more resources and more alumni services. The cycle of goodness would flourish and prosper.
communication drive to project the visibility of the Association. We need to tap the electronic, the social and the traditional media to stoke alumni interest, enthusiasm and support to our institutional commitments and public undertakings. We need to exploit the potential of the new media to form a strong, cohesive and responsive global MSU alumni community. At our doorsteps are the Global MSUans Network (GMN) and the MSUeVillage International (MEVI) that are simply waiting for action. Ash Tamano and Malou Morishige created a website (http://www.msu-aa.org) for us in January 2011 also aimed at communications and organizational visibility. This site, unfortunately, has not been put in use. The only post appearing in the site is the launching message of the MSUAA President. On the other hand, Sammy Sabenecio, past MSUAA President, volunteered to create and administer an Alumni Newsroom also in cyberspace during the October 2011 meeting of the BOD in Cagayan de Oro. The newsroom (http://www.msuan.net/members) was launched in the second week of December 2011. So far, however, only Sammy and the MSUAA President had posted articles in this cyber news outlet. The next important step for all of us to do at the moment is to give more commitment to our chosen responsibilities and to put our act together. This will enable us to deliver and improve our performance, and make our organization more responsive and more relevant to the call of the times.
Reaching out to the greater alumni community requires commitment and actions from all members of the Board. The tasks and the potential outputs of the different committees are good public relations items and are crucial inputs to our information and
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