By Darren Bautista & Tram Panaligan
On August 14th, 2020, SISFU held its first General Assembly (GA) for Academic Year 2020-2021. Dr. Jerry A. Aguilar, VP of Academic Support and Marketing, welcomed all the students on its first-ever virtual GA in SISFU’s 22 years as the pioneer in transnational education in the Philippines.
The assembly, hosted by Gwen Arnoco and Josef Hojas, anchored on personal growth, building relationships, and staying strong amidst difficulties and uncertainties. One of the fun parts of the GA was the ice breaker wherein Team Senior High School and Team College students battled to solve a series of clever riddles. In the end, Team High School emerged victorious!
That ice-breaker definitely set the tone! The group was more than ready to listen to Dr Marjorie G. Tangog, Vice-President for Academics and Research, as she discussed several tips on how to maintain academic rigour in the virtual set up. They ranged from the proper way to set up study spaces, lessening distractions, taking breaks, and having honesty and integrity in your work.
Student quarantine experiences followed right after, with Patrixia Amora, Seth Alonzo, and Sophia Pupos sharing their own journey. Let’s hear it from them:
Patrixia, 2nd Year Accounting student, believes that the lockdown is a chance for us to keep trying new things. It’s the perfect time to learn not to fear failure, but to embrace it when it comes to finding new hobbies, talents, or useful skills.
Sophia, 12th Grade Hospitality Management student, further affirmed that the pandemic is actually a blessing in disguise; a chance to give time to yourself, to promote self-care and just be mindful about your mental health.
Seth, 3rd Year Hospitality Management student, ended his elaborate speech saying, “A [typical] school is a community, but here at SISFU, we are a family.”
After the students, select faculty members shared their experiences as well:
Dr. Rowena Sagaysay, Moderator of SISFU’s Hospitality Management and Culinary Arts (HMCA) club and Lecturer for the School of Hospitality Management (SOHM), shared her new adjustments and routines while on quarantine. Having a positive outlook, she said, is important: Be happy and do not just live under the new normal, but strive harder to create a better normal.
Mr. Jonathan Borja, popularly known as Sir Borj, is the Club Moderator of Digital Alliance and lecturer for Senior High and College. He mentioned that while on quarantine, he was able to unlock his baking skills. He added that he is now a certified “plant-tito” because of his new found love for gardening. He emphasised that part of adjusting to the new normal is to stay productive and make use of the time creatively.
The last of the faculty testimonies was Ms. Kimberley Pedge, School of Business Management (SOBM) Programme Leader. She reiterated a tip from earlier in the GA: staying resilient. She also made key points on togetherness and being each other’s support systems.
Wrapping the day’s event was an exciting raffle for all students who signed up. Prizes were given out to four extremely lucky attendees.
And to end the day on a high note, was a heartwarming special video presentation, created by the members of the Student Council and select students volunteers. The video was a glimpse of our life in the time of COVID-19. The pandemic may have robbed us of the most basic activities that we used to do, but it has not stopped us from standing together, now more than ever, and do our part to “Heal the World.”
SISFU’s President, Dr. Melva Diamante, concluded the event with her encouraging message. She thanked all the students and staff for letting her witness one of the best General Assemblies in her decade at SISFU. She encouraged every member of the SISFU family to continue to be agents of change during these new beginnings.
The energy and interactions between students and staff made everyone feel like we were physically on campus. It was one hallmark event that will definitely be remembered by all attendees as we move forward to our new and better normal.Sharing Stories. Connecting People.
We are The Bridge.
We look forward to hearing from you!