Silliman University (SU) Extension Program is calling for more students, alumni, faculty, and staff to volunteer for ‘Alagad,’ a program to help communities in need.
Asst. Prof. Emervencia L. Ligutom, the director for the Extension Program, said that the “more volunteers, the quicker response” will reach the communities in need.
Ligutom said that since all professions are a service profession, students are encouraged to volunteer, donate, and engage in community activities. She, however, emphasized that they are after the quality of the volunteers, rather than their quantity.
However, the more volunteers they have, the faster and quicker they can pack goods and respond to calamities and disasters.
“Students should not just concentrate on the classroom. They also need to get their feet on the ground and know what the real situation is,” Ligutom said.
Alagad will direct students about protocols in giving to communities and organize a series of capability-building activities for them.
The program uses announcements and promotions to gather more volunteers.
Through Alagad, a volunteer development program, the extension office has developed a database that lists all the names of organizations and individual volunteers, and the type of service they want to work on.
Novee Maestrecampo Jr., the project development coordinator of the extension program, said that they can immediately pull off units of volunteers in times of need and disasters through this database.
Maestrecampo added that volunteerism is done by choice, without monetary reward and for the benefit of the communities served.
Last June 20, the Extension Program launched Alagad through a run to help SU-KCDC preschoolers. The National Service Training Program and SU Student Government coordinated the event. Around 600 people ran to promote volunteerism, a “dimension of whole person education at Silliman University,” according to Maestrecampo.
Alagad has two components: the sustainable development and the “here and now” response.
Sustainable development focuses on continuous and long term services where the volunteers engage in the communities.
The “here and now” is an immediate response for service in times of calamities and disasters. Fire rescue and disaster response are some of the volunteer services.
The Extension Program also accepts donations of goods for the communities, out of school youth, women out of prostitution, the unemployed, and day care pupils.
“You may donate, but you may not know how far your donations go,” Ligutom said.
According to her, clothes donated by CWTS students and other organizations were used for the community’s livelihood program. Communities sold rags and pot holders from used clothes.
Donated books and school supplies were also given to six elementary schools supported by the SU volunteerism program in Siaton.
Ligutom added that there are existing volunteerism programs in other units in the university.
“Alagad is a way of trying to synchronize all community engagements of different units in the university,” she said.
Alagad also provides assistance to the volunteer programs of other units in the university.
The SU Extension Program will document, monitor, and evaluate activities and services.
By: Leslie J. Batallones