UST Presents a Panel Paper on Service-Learning in the Philippines at the 5th Philippine Studies Conference in Japan
On November 27, 2022, the University of Santo Tomas presented…
The UST-SIMBAHAYAN Community Development Office is tasked to develop, implement, and manage the University Community Development Program (UCDP) towards the University’s mission of “generation, advancement, and transmission of knowledge to form competent and compassionate professionals, committed to the service of the Church, the nation, and the global community.”
Directly under the Vice-Rector for Religious Affairs, it covers programs and projects of College/Faculty-based and University-wide student organizations; Civic Welfare Training Service (CWTS) and Literacy Training Service (LTS) sections of the National Service Training Program (NSTP); and alumni groups and associations.
The UST Simbahayan Community Development Office, a grounded and responsive institution, envisions partner communities and at-risk sectors to be self-reliant, interdependent, and empowered, contributing to the building of the Church, the home, and the nation.
The UST Simbahayan Community Development Office commits itself to continuous improvement and to the sustained Christian formation of Thomasians and University partner communities and institutions in becoming agents of social transformation.
AlerTOMAS is a university-wide community development advocacy for the environment and for disaster risk reduction management (DRRM). It is inspired by Church Social Teachings’ theme on Care for God’s Creation with emphasis on Pope Francis’s Laudato Si (‘The Care for Creation’). AlerTOMAS is led by the NSTP, Faculty of Science, College of Architecture, Faculty of Engineering, the Graduate School, and the UST Simbahayan Community Development Office.
Pistang TOMAS is an annual event that promotes sustainable livelihood among our partner communities and the university by patronizing local and indigenous products made and developed by the communities. This advocacy is spearheaded by the Institute of Physical Education and Athletics, Conservatory of Music, College of Tourism and Hospitality Management, College of Commerce and Business Administration, College of Fine Arts and Design, AMV-College of Accountancy, and the UST Simbahayan Community Development Office.
As a premier Catholic educational institution, training and education are at the heart of our Community Development strategy. Training pertains to helping partner communities and institutions to proficiently practice a specific set of skills in order to allow them to perform better in a particular task. Meanwhile, education pertains to help partner communities learn how to use knowledge based on UNESCO’s four pillars of education, namely: 1) Learning to live together; 2) Learning to know; 3) Learning to do; and 4) Learning to be. Thus, education is not just about being trained, but it is also about knowing how to use knowledge to do what is good, to promulgate local knowledge, and help partner communities and institutions become educators themselves.
People in partner communities and institutions must be helped in order for them to be organized so that they can have a high level of public engagement and cohesion on important Community Development projects and issues that affect their lives. Community and institutional organizing includes conscientization, leadership development, membership building, organizational development, and campaign or action plan development.
In order for Community Development projects to be sustained, they must be anchored on long-term programs. Management for program development here refers to helping partner communities and institutions develop a portfolio of multiple projects that are managed and coordinated as one unit with the objective of achieving outcomes and benefits for their organization and respective community. This will require community participation in learning how to manage development phases of a program, namely: 1) situation analysis; 2) planning and design; 3) implementation and monitoring; 4) evaluation; and 5) impact assessment. Management for program development also entails institutional development of SIMBAHAYAN to better orient and inspire students, faculty, administration, support staff, and alumni to engage in Community Development work.
SIMBAHAYAN serves as human rights defenders for people coming from different sectors who experience discrimination, exclusion, marginalization, oppression, and subordination (DEMOS). We do this in order to raise their voices and help them conscientize the general public, government, policy-makers, or other entities such as private corporations, to bring about positive changes that can be in the form of policies, laws, programs, and projects designed to effectively improve their situation in life. Meanwhile, research and documentation entail scientifically gathering evidence in order to develop Community Development programs and projects and understand their long-term impact on the lives of communities and institutions we serve and partner with.
SIMBAHAYAN engages with partner communities and institutions in Community Development work, because as a Catholic university, we base our principles and actions on Gospel-centered service, Catholic Social Teachings, and the Dominican charism. Thus, in everything that we do, it serves as an opportunity to promulgate the Good News and be the Good News so that people we serve and partner with may come to know and feel the love of Christ. Hopefully, this would lead to the formation of people in partner communities and institutions with a Christian lens and sensitivity in working toward social transformation.
Dunong TOMAS promotes education and social awareness by edifying Thomasian students and partner communities and institutions on the pressing social issues of the country and how these can be properly addressed. It is organized by the Senior High School, College of Education, Junior High School, and Institute of Information and Computing Sciences, and the UST Simbahayan Community Development Office.
Siglang TOMAS advocates health and wellness through physical, mental, and spiritual activities. Its series of events centers on making health a priority in line with the continuous efforts of UST to promote holistic health among Thomasians and its partner communities and institutions. Siglang TOMAS is led by the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery, College of Nursing, Faculty of Pharmacy, College of Rehabilitation Sciences, Institute of Religion, and the UST Simbahayan Community Development Office.
More than a year ago since the whole nation has been afflicted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the University of Santo Tomas, through the Office of the Vice Rector for Religious Affairs and the UST Simbahayan Community Development Office, extends its assistance to fellow Thomasians, partner communities, and partner institutions through medical support, food distribution, and Tulong Tomasino Drive. Support for our brothers and sisters who were affected by Typhoon Rolly and Ulysses in 2020 was also extended to UST partner communities and institutions, and affected communities, parishes and arch/dioceses.
Community Service Day
Community Service Day is a biannual event that is held in the first and second term of the current academic year to promote environmental sustainability and action with a proactive response to the call of Pope Francis’s Laudato Si. Thomasian students, support staff, alumni, faculty members, administrators, and University partner communities, institutions, and Dominican networks actively participate in the series of events to support the environmental advocacies of the University.
In the first term of AY 2020-2021, the Community Service Day entitled “Araw ng Paglilingkod sa Panahon ng Paglikha 2020” with the theme “Hubileo Para sa Daigdig: Pagtalab at Pagtugon sa Pagpapanumbalik ng Sangnilikha” was held on National Heroes Day, August 31, in strong collaboration with the AlerTomas Cluster headed by the Faculty of Arts and Letters, Faculty of Engineering, College of Science, College of Architecture, Graduate School, and National Service Training Program (NSTP CWTS/LTS), the Dominican Family for Justice, Peace, and Care for Creation – Philippines (DFJPPC), and the Fellowship for the Care of Creation Association Inc. (FCCAI). This also served as the launching of the activities for the Season of Creation which happens on September 1, 2020 (Tuesday) until October 11, 2020 (Indigenous People’s Sunday).
In the second term of the academic year, the UST SIMBAHAYAN Community Development Office, in partnership with the Human Resource Department, the Office for Alumni Relations, Justice for Peace and Care for Creation, organized the second Community Service Day for AY 2020-2021 on January 29, 2021 from 2:30 pm to 4:30 pm with the theme “Living and Sharing the Challenges of Fratelli Tutti” as a humble contribution to the celebration of the 500 Years of Christianity in the Philippines.
Every year since 2016, the Simbahayan Community Development Office has conducted the Learning Exchange Program with partner universities in the country. This is a learning caravan where the office gets to share its best practices in the Catholic Mission of Service and the Dominican mission of justice, peace, and care of creation. Each university, in turn, also shares its best practices, providing the UST group a chance to learn, too.
[The Learning Exchange Program] becomes an opportunity where UST SIMBAHAYAN learns from other HEIs in how they address local challenges in their surrounding communities and how they contribute to public service in their respective regions.
Prof. Mark Anthony D. Abenir, DSD
Former Simbahayan Community Development Office Director
The term Simbahayan is a combination of the words “Simbahan, Bayan, and Tahanan,” the three foci of UST’s centerpiece project for its Quadricentennial celebration from 2010-2012.
On November 27, 2022, the University of Santo Tomas presented…
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