Alumni of the University of the Philippines from the Philippine Daily Inquirer (PDI) joined UP officials on 30 May 2015 in the Board of Regents Room of UP Diliman’s Quezon Hall to have a conversation with UP President Alfredo E. Pascual over brunch.
The conversation began with Pascual giving a presentation entitled, UP: Moving the National University Forward in the 21st Century. In this presentation, the president updated the alumni on the latest initiatives and projects under his administration.
These projects fell mostly under the banner of two strategic initiatives—academic excellence and operational excellence. Under the former fall some of UP’s most important goals, such as the recruitment of the best and brightest students, the democratization of access to UP, the strengthening of the university’s faculty and research capacities, and the intensification of its internationalization efforts.
The university’s flagship projects to improve administrative efficiency, on the other hand, fall under the latter. These are the eUP, which will put into place an integrated information system within and across campuses; and Green UP, which aims to make UP campuses “environment-friendly while saving on cost of utilities”. Also under operational excellence are UP’s drive to increase government funding, the prudent use of revenue-generating projects on its land assets and the efficient management of donations to the university.
The questions from PDI editors and reporters covered a broad range of topics, from the precise steps UP was taking to democratize access, to details about giving back and getting involved with UP’s existing initiatives.
It was in this session that Pascual highlighted the importance of the media’s support in UP’s efforts to get more poor UPCAT qualifiers to enroll in the University. According to Pascual, around 35% of UPCAT qualifers do not enroll in UP for various reasons.
A major problem to surmount, added Pascual, was getting the word out that poor students can receive needed assistance. “We have to inform them also that if you are poor, you can study for free,” Pascual said. “And I need your help – professionals in the media – to spread the word”.
“Please enroll, because you can study for free. For living expenses, you can get an allowance of P3,500 (per month). And if you want to earn more, you can work as a student assistant, and/or get a scholarship,” Pascual added.
Representatives from the PDI were introduced by Business Features Editor Ms. Tina Arceo Dumlao. Their counterparts from UP were likewise introduced by UP Vice President for Public Affairs Dr. J. Prospero De Vera, who credited the UP Alumni Association College of Mass Communication led by Board Secretary Rica D. Abad and Asst. Treasurer Ivy Mendoza, for helping pioneer this first of many planned conversations.