What Really Happened in Nov-Dec 2020 in ADDU

This is a transcript of my closing remarks at the end of the November-December non-academic activities on December 18, 2020. But in this speech is what the title above says: what really happened in the months of November and December 2020 in Ateneo de Davao University’s High Education Unit. As the academics prepared for the 2nd semester, the non-academic formation team was tasked to keep the students and the university who are not involved in the academic preparations alive. The video is below:

First things first: Let’s give a round of applause to the Campus Ministry led by Mr. Patrick Jose Cavan for making this event, the culmination of the non-academic student activities, very successful. Assisting in this event are members of the SAMAHAN. Daghang salamat.

The magi in the Christmas story travelled for around 400 miles, approximately two or three weeks on camel or a month’s journey by foot to bring the Christ child the first Christmas presents. And if they traveled at night to be guided by a star, then the journey would take an even longer time.

The journey of the non-academic formation program of the Ateneo de Davao University was long and arduous in the months of November and December of 2020.

Notwithstanding the surprise when a few days before the 1st semester ended, we were then thrust to take charge of the first two months of the 2nd semester, while the academic personnel were given the time to prepare their courseware. And to take charge means to keep the students busy. But non-academic activities cannot be required, nor can it be coerced upon students. What we can do is to sell our activities, and hope that students will buy what we offer. If they don’t, we are powerless.

But like the magi, we followed a star: we left what we cannot control in the hands of God, and hoped that many would still take advantage of the time to learn on their own, love on their own will, lead on an inspiration that comes from self-determination and a love for others. Not everything needs to be graded. And like the magi, following the star led to an experience of God: in the darkness that followed, there were packets of light.

November and December were experiences of joy and grace. We tightened our ranks, collaborated vertically and horizontally, and prayed. And with what worth it gave us, we were able to pull it off.

We are grateful for the efforts of student leaders and the formation team, beginning with the Mental Health Week, Drug Addiction Prevention, Mindanao Week of Peace, Christ the King, International Volunteers and Human Rights Week among others. The Guidance Office, the Arrupe Office of Social Formation, Office of Student Affairs, the Campus Ministry Office and other collaborators tirelessly worked to make those days memorable and educative. (See the schedule below)

And despite the pressure of completing their requirements, some students still managed to contribute to these events voluntarily. Maraming, maraming salamat po.

On behalf of the Formation Team for Students, I would like to greet all of you a Merry Christmas and may 2021 be kinder and a more grace-filled year for all of us.


Below are two things: (1) The schedule from November 9 (Monday) to December 18 (Friday), 2020 and (2) my closing remarks for the Human Rights Week where I mentioned about the Formation Offices involvement and in collaboration with other offices such as the Senior High School’s Wellness and Testing Center; or ADDU’s CAID and UCEAC.

I. Schedule for Nov-Dec Non-Academic Formation Activities and Rationale.

1. Underlying Principle/Objective of all activities: Collaboration/ Working Together/ Teamwork.

We are creating a culture of collaboration vertically and horizontally across units. The Basic Ed will collaborate with the college’s non-academic formation whenever possible—since alignment is one of our mandates.

2. The Daily Schedule per Week.

a. Mondays – Thursdays are dedicated for individual club/cluster activities.

b. Fridays: 3:00-4:30 PM: Collaborative Non-Academic Formation Activity.

3. The Weekly Schedule for the Non-Academic Formation Activities is below. The themes are derived from AdDU’s school calendar.

November 9-13: Preparation Time. Lead: The Higher Education’s Student Formation Team.

November 16-20: Mental Health Week. Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Week. Lead Office: Guidance Office.

November 23-27: Christ the King Week. Elimination of Violence Against Women and Children. Mindanao Week of Peace. Lead Office: Arrupe Office for Social Formation.

December 1-4: World AIDS Day and International Volunteers Day. Lead Office: Arrupe Office for Social Formation

December 7-11: Immaculate Conception Novena and Ateneo-wide Celebration. International Anti-Corruption Day. Human Rights Week. Lead Office: Office of Student Affairs. Note: Closing Remarks is below.

December 14-18: Celebrating Togetherness at Christmas and Culmination of the Non-Academic Activities for November and December 2020. Lead Office: Campus Ministry Office.

II. Closing Remarks for the Human Rights Week (Dec 11, 2020)

My Closing Remarks for the Human Rights Week is below. I already mentioned the offices involved in this video to promote an awareness that all activities from November until December in Ateneo de Davao University are products of teamwork.

III. Evaluation of the Nov-Dec Non-Academic Formation Activities.

“The Formation Team composed of the Arrupe Office of Social Formation, Campus Ministry, Guidance Center and the Office of Student Affairs of the Higher Education Unit led by Fr. Jboy Gonzales, SJ was asked to design and conduct non-academic formation activities during the advisory period of the second semester of 2020-2021 to enable the instruction unit to prepare for the migration to Moodle for all classes.

Given the limited time, the team was able to design and conduct six (6) major thematic online activities for a good of one and half hours through the ADDU Facebook live platform.

I believe the laudable gains of this project are the following: The spirit of collaboration was fostered among formation offices. The student leaders and volunteers under the guidance of these offices were able to witness cooperation and coordination among their peers and hopefully inspire them to move as one rather than as compartmentalized organizations.

The student leaders and volunteers were able to exercise their leadership and competently designed and implemented university thematic and traditional activities which exemplified the principles of leadership, AdDU sui generis.

With the period of time, given to prepare, the team of formation offices was able to deliver activities with very good content and creative process.

The objective of providing a breather for the students to recharge while still having a menu of activities to choose from was achieved as evidenced with their attendance to various activities laid out for them. There was quality participation considering that the participation is voluntary.

The experience of the six-week line up of activities serves as a good benchmark for the design and conduct for the remaining months of the semester.

I would recommend the same structure and system as I found them effective.”

Lilibeth Arcena, Arrupe Office for Social Formation.

Published by Jboy Gonzales SJ

TV/Digital host: Kape't Pandasal. Vlog: YT On the Line. Environment, Youth Formation. Music. Leadership. Always dancing to a different drum.

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