PABUOS 2024 was hosted at the Bapa Benny Tudtud Auditorium on May 15, 2024, from 9:00 AM to 3:50 PM. The event welcomed multiple meaningful discourses that inspired and enlightened the minds of many Ateneo de Davao University faculty members in regards to Service Learning: The Synergy of Academic Education and Social Formation and how learning is not limited inside the four walls of a classroom.

In the first half of the event, the talk centered around defining the technicalities and practicalities of the Service-Learning Program and its significance in cultivating the minds and souls of the learners. The first speaker, Ms. Apple Grace L. Bonhoc, the Coordinator of the Service-Learning Program, officially began the program with a quote, “To love is to serve,” to sum up the entirety of the event, the objective is to promote academic excellence alongside social responsibility. The discussions emphasized the importance of including SLP in the curriculum and its benefits as a post-requisite of ASF 1 and ASF 2 courses. A proposition of a 2-unit course will be incorporated as part of the university curriculum in the next two years is said to be under deliberation.

During the discussion, Ms. Agnes J. Saragal, RSW, emphasized the importance of implementing initiatives where the students utilize their program to aid the marginalized community. Service-learning as a form of experiential education requires genuine engagement and commitment in attending to the community’s needs for the common good. Service-learning as a Pedagogy states the complementary difference between the Academic Faculty and Formation Faculty. Both play an important role in balancing the technicalities and abstract properties of project implementation. Faculty members resonated, citing examples such as chemistry students researching water quality accessible to the community and marketing students aiding workers with sales techniques using social media. These projects not only benefit the communities they serve, but they also give students real-world experiences and opportunities for personal growth.

Service-learning as a formative experience requires the students to reflect on the situation and to discern the necessary course of action. Professor Emmanuel Joseph B. Sumatra, MSc, narrated his experiences in guiding the students to take action despite the sometimes conflicting needs of the community and their own capacities. They utilized their knowledge about Sales Management and conducted an informative seminar and training to guide the COOP, their partner community, in managing their entrepreneurial scheme. It was both a learning experience and an action to respond to social duty.

The event brought to light Ateneo de Davao’s united dedication to nurturing socially responsible graduates who excel academically and embody a profound commitment to community engagement. Through SLP and other core courses, the university continues cultivating a generation of Sui Generis leaders prepared to make meaningful contributions to society’s most pressing challenges.

As the event came to an end, the partner communities, dedicated faculty members, and students were presented with awards such as the Magis for Service-Learning Award, Student Leadership Award, Distinguished Community Partner, and Exemplary Community Project Award. They also dedicate a Certificate of Recognition to the partner communities. The ceremony ended with the closing remarks delivered by Ms. Agnes J. Saragal, RSW, Director of the Arrupe Office of Social Formation.

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