By SYRAH VIVIEN J. INOCENCIO
THERE is a need for change in the Artlets Student Coucil (ABSC), according to presidential candidates Irah Joyce Embile of Grand Alliance for Progress and Lady Freyja “Dea” Gascon of DEKADA. Both candidates have already accumulated different skills and experiences in the field of student leadership and have different perspectives in leading and serving the Artlet community.
A breather for Artlets
In her three years as an Artlet, Irah has seen how the ABSC works. Her other leadership experiences include being the vice president of The Political Science Forum and secretary of the AB Knighted Owls, the official drumline of the Faculty.
Being part of an organization managed by the ABSC gave Embile a glimpse of what needs to be changed in the student council. For her, the most pressing issue is the lack of communication and transparency.
“The mere fact na under na kami ng council tapos hindi kami na-a-update sa events ng Goodwill (Games) at ng AB Week, kung papalo ba kami o mag-sho-show up ba kami, wala kaming maramdaman. Nasa loob na kami mismo ng structure ng council, wala kaming maramdaman. What more ‘yung mga student na hindi ganoon kalapit sa council?” she says.
Embile has had her fair share of trying times. Having experienced not knowing how and who to talk to in dark moments led her to one of her main advocacies, which focuses on the mental health of Artlets.
“One of the main two advocacies ko is ‘yung mental health. Hindi lang siya mag-sa-stop sa awareness. [Sa] “Artlet’s Talk,” in coordination with the AB Counseling and Career Center, magkakaroon ng support groups inside the Faculty,” she explains.
Protecting Artlets’ rights
DEKADA’s presidential bet Dea says integrity is the top trait of a great student leader because staying true to one’s moral principles also gains the trust of the people whom the leader serves.
“As student leaders, ang hinaharap natin dito [ay] ang administrasyon. There are certain situations wherein we are not in favor of their actions… I think when one leads with integrity, one is able to gain the trust of those around him or her, most especially the students, [because] having integrity also means being accountable,” she says.
Gascon’s goal is to strengthen the grievance system of the ABSC.
“I appreciate the efforts of the incumbent [council], however, more than executing projects, events, activities or materializing platforms, I think the council should place its focus on the establishment of a firm grievance system,” she says.
“What about others who are still afraid to speak out? What about those who deem their concerns as invalid, irrelevant or not enough? It’s a realization na may mas malaki pang laban outside of one’s self and outside of the Faculty,” Gascon stresses.
The protection of both human and students’ rights is close to Gascon’s heart. As a student leader, she wishes to influence others to become more aware of how important these are to society.
“Hindi naman nahihiwalay ‘yung human rights sa students’ rights […] I think as student leaders, we have a level of influence to make the students aware of these issues and to mobilize them into movements through creating avenues for the students to have dialogues with one another,” she asserts. F
WATCH: Get to know presidential bets Irah Joyce Embile (GAP) and Lady Freyja Gascon (DEKADA) through the Flame’s video series for AB Halalan 2019.