A day-long research conference was held on February 22, 2019 to mark the annual Bartolome de las Casas Research Conference 2019 held at the Central Laboratory Auditorium B. Spearheaded by the UST SIMBAHAYAN Community Development Office (UST SIMBAHAYAN) in collaboration with the UST Research Center for Social Sciences and Education (UST RCSSED), the theme for this year’s conference was “Community Engagement and Service Learning: Towards Strong Institutionalization and Community Empowerment.”

The opening remarks, delivered by Vice Rector for Research and Innovation Prof. Maribel Nonato, Ph.D., was followed by the Panel Session 1: Institutionalization of Community Engagement/Service-Learning which was moderated by Assoc. Prof. Marielyn Quintana. Research presenters were SIMBAHAYAN Director Assoc. Prof. Mark Anthony Abenir, DSD, SIMBAHAYAN Assistant Director Asst. Prof. Froilan Alipao, and Asst. Prof. Melanie Turingan, PhD. – all are part of the UST Community Engaged Studies Research Interest Group (RIG), together with Asst. Prof. Philip Arnold Tuaño of Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU). For Panel Session 2: Community Engagement/Service-Learning and Student Formation, the presentors included: Asst. Prof. Leland Joseph dela Cruz from ADMU, Dr. Marian Emae Grace Alvarez from the UST Faculty of Medicine and Surgery, and Assoc. Prof. Jose Ricarte Origenes from the UST SIMBAHAYAN-National Service Training Program (NSTP).

The moderator for the afternoon session, Dr. Abernir, focused on Community Engagement/Service-Learning Intervention and Impact. Ms. Enha Erika Brondo, ADMU-NSTP Formator and Mr. George Omer Quitoriano, faculty member of ADMU showcased their studies together with Engr. Alexie Ballon from theInstitute of Information and Computing Sciences; Mitzico Bibal, graduating student of Faculty of Engineering; Jelynna Alano, and Jowillyn Capacite, students from College of Rehabilitation Sciences. The last session which awakened the interest of students on Community Engagement/Service Learning and Disaster Resilience was facilitated by Asst. Prof. Alipao.

Assoc. Prof. Quintana from Faculty of Arts and Letters, Mr. Adrian Romero of UST NSTP, Ms. Imelda Oponda of Kasiglahan Village, Asst. Prof. Alain Jomari Santos of UST Graduate School, Marie Jane Turla, and Britany Alaine Lopez from College of Nursing students were the last presenters.

Abenir concluded the conference by not just mentioning the importance of research that is for the people and by the people, but also by emphasizing that the Bartolome de las Casas Research Conference serves as an avenue for the conference participants to listen and understand the research studies and interventions of different colleges guided by the discipline of community development. He also invited everyone to submit their research papers for the upcoming Kamanlalakbay portion of its program, which is a presentation of studies regarding partner communities of the University.