Leading up to the hype

I am one requirement away from officially finishing college  and being able to blog regularly again! Yay! But in the mean time, let me share this omnibus article that my friend and fellow batch mate wrote about student leaders for her final requirement in class. It’s  kind of weird to read what someone wrote about you especially when you disclose things that you can’t believe you actually did (read to see what i mean haha). But it’s interesting to see how they piece your life together, which is one of the things I personally enjoy about writing.  Anyways, thanks for this Lexie! : )


Leading up to the hype

By Alexis M. Dy

FOR Ateneo de Manila University undergraduates, turning the page on the month of February means that it’s time to step up. As the various student organizations gear up for the turnover process from the incumbent heads to the next school year’s batch of leaders, hopeful candidates accomplish applications, prepare speeches and disseminate campaign materials on campus and on social networking sites.

With so many positions available in the Loyola Schools’ approximately 80 student organizations, each with a seemingly limited range of powers, it’s easy to brush aside their significance and believe that these can be reduced to mere titles. Still, this couldn’t be further from the truth, especially for those student leaders who, instead of running to pad their resumés, actually recognize the gravity of the responsibilities they have chosen to undertake and believe they can make a difference in ways both big and small. With their clear vision, dedication to their work and passion to serve, these three Ateneans prove that when it comes to student leadership, the bar is set higher than most people think.

Rica Facundo: Netizen of the world

Whenever a young Rica Facundo would join her parents in bed, she would punch and kick them in her sleep, and wake up with her head by the foot of the bed.

“My dad said I would never stay put,” she says, laughing. “Even as a kid, I was always very busy because I had to put my energy somewhere.”

As she rattles off a long list of activities that includes everything from rock-climbing to theater, it quickly becomes clear that Rica is always raring to try new things–owing, no doubt, to her culturally rich experiences in Reedley International School and International School Manila,which included trips to China, the Netherlands and Malaysia.

Still, she recognized the importance of getting to know her Filipino roots as well, and this heavily factored into her decision to study here instead of abroad.

“Because I was in international school and I wasn’t born here, I’m not very Filipinized,” Rica says. “I thought it would be a good experience to stay here, and it has been. I realized that it really doesn’t matter where you go, so long as you make the most out of it.”

However, she spent the first two years of college taking it easy, choosing to participate in the projects of student organizations instead of taking the lead to plan them. “Since in high school, I did a lot of leadership work, I was kind of burnt out,” she says. “I wanted to take a break.”

By the time her junior year came around, Rica decided it was time to start doing more.

She won the position of Associate Vice-President for Projects in her home organization, the Ateneo Association of Communication Majors (ACOMM) and began her term bolstered by her experiences at the Ateneo Student Leaders Assembly (ASLA), a five-day program that brings together 50 carefully chosen student leaders from Ateneo universities all over the country. A year later, she moved up to the position of Vice-President for Projects at ACOMM.

“When I started out my Projects reign this year, I told myself, ‘Rica, this is a test of how far you can push yourself,’” she says of her determination to come up with interesting, quality projects for ACOMM to put together.

After all, this was exactly the reason she had chosen the Projects department over the Corporate Communications department in the first place.

“It gives me more freedom to really experiment,” she says. “The way I treat mydepartment is that it’s a playground for ideas, and you can be innovative and add your own personal flavor to it.”

Without a doubt, the project that most fulfilled her vision was the Social Media Summit.

Held last December, the whole-day seminar brought together some of the country’s most prominent figures in social media, such as Maria Ressa, Jim Paredes and Ivan Henares, to give talks and workshops to delegates from high schools and universities.

“That was really challenging for me, because despite all my years of experience, I’d never handled a project of that kind or in that scale,” Rica admits.

Despite the difficulties encountered, the Social Media Summit was a success, garnering media exposure and positive feedback from participants.

“I remember one of the high school students wrote on the evaluation that ACOMM is an org young people can depend on,” she says. “I wasn’t even thinking about that when I wanted to create this project, but that’s what it became, and it was really fantastic.”

Now few months shy from graduation, Rica is showing no signs of slowing down. She looks forward to pursuing a blog project inspired by the many great stories from ASLA’s 10-year history.

“I realize that as a communication major, my so-called vocation is helping people spread ripples of change,” she says, borrowing from ASLA’s tagline. “It’s about awareness. I seem to bepretty good online, so I can help communicate that there.”


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