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SU limits commercialization of Founders Day

Sommer Buyante | News Editor & Ray Chen S. Bahinting | Editor-in-Chief

Silliman University (SU) is limiting the commercialization of the upcoming Hibalag Booth Festival (HBF) 2017.

VP for Development Jane Annette Belarmino, said limiting commercialization means “banners and other marketing collaterals of [commercial sponsors] are going to be more discreet and will be limited to certain areas.

“The university has been run over by all these commercial establishments,” she said.

In the case of Globe Telecom, Inc, the premium sponsor for HBF 2017, anything they will put up in Hibalag Booth area will have to be in accordance with the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) signed between SU and Globe Telecom Inc.

According to the MOA, Globe is only allowed to put up one 50 x 10 feet full experiential and one 10×10 feet selling booth.

Silliman University Student Government (SUSG) finance committee chair, Aleanah Lim Cortes, said, “Before, [Globe] can put all marketing collaterals as much as they want. They have no limits. They can put as much as banners as they want, as much tarpaulins.”

Now, based on the MOA, only one Ad Balloon, and two arc signages  co-branding with Silliman University, one Silliman Build up and 10 lighted cloth lanterns  are allowed to be put up.

SUSG Committee on Student Organizations chair, Mark Ian Tabanas, however, said that they allotted 10 five-by-five meter commercial zones in Hibalag Booth area for sponsors.

On the other hand, VP Belarmino said, “I think the commercialization aspect is because every year, students want to have a bigger and more elaborate celebration and that costs a lot. But if you really go back to the basics in celebrating the true spirit of Silliman, we don’t need that.”

She recalled that the Founders Day celebration years before was more of a concerted effort of the faculty, staff, and the student body.

“In my personal opinion, Silliman Founders Day should be celebrated for the Via, Veritas, Vita: The Way, The Truth, and The Life, and I do not see how exactly the commercialization fits into this.”

Meanwhile, because of the limited commercialization, the SUSG is struggling to raise funds for the HBF.

“Companies who have been sponsoring SG events for years lowered their cash sponsorship since they also have a set of requirements from their marketing department,” she shared.

For example, the Globe Telecom Inc. sponsored P100, 000 for last year’s HBF. However, it will only give P70,000 this year; P60,000 for SUSG and P10,000 for the Rock Against Youth Apathy,  a band competition organized by the SUSG Advocacy Committee.

SUSG is expecting to spend up to P600, 000 to P700, 000 for the 10-day HBF, which includes power installation and electricity charges.

The SUSG will give P20, 000 from its funds, P1, 500 from each registered organization’s booth, and the rest will be coming from sponsors and concessionaires.

However as of Aug.15, Cortes said they haven’t reached the target amount.

Cortes said that although the limited commercialization is  financially challenging, they understand the decision.

They agreed that the celebration for the past years has been “commercial-centric instead of being student-centric.”

“Although it poses as a challenge for us in terms of looking for finances, the SG respects the sentiments of the alumni and administration that student events have become too commercialized,” Cortes added.

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