The Summit on Transforming UP into a Nurturing and Healthy University on April 19 and 20, 2018 at the UP Professional Schools Bonifacio Global City, Taguig brought together UP System and officials of constituent universities (CUs); staff of the Offices of Student Affairs, Gender, Guidance and Counseling; and psychosocial health experts to discuss a framework for psychosocial health in the University and work on action plans for the CUs.
UP President Danilo Concepcion fast-tracked the holding of the summit, through the Padayon Public Service Office under the Office of the Vice President for Public Affairs.
Executive Vice President Teodoro Herbosa representing Concepcion said, “UP must become a nurturing and supportive home. . . with avenues, places, offices, and trustworthy people [others] can turn to.”
“We at the UP System can generate policy that will harmonize the programs and initiatives being undertaken at the constituent university level, ensuring a common standard and baseline of support, even as each CU tailors policy into implementable measures appropriate to their context,” Herbosa added.
In pre-summit meetings, a technical working group (TWG) worked on a draft framework for an action plan and chancellors reported on their CU’s psychosocial environment. The TWG was composed of: UP Manila Chancellor Carmencita Padilla; Dr. Violeta Bautista, chief of the UP Diliman Task Force on Psychosocial Services; Dr. Anselmo Tronco, psychiatric chief of the UP Manila-Philippine General Hospital; Dean Sylvia Estrada-Claudio of the College of Social Work and Community Development; Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs Richard Philip Gonzalo; and Director Maria Crisanta Flores and Officer in Charge Frances Fatima Cabana of the Padayon Public Service Office.
Through the summit workshops, the participants validated the framework, with the CU representatives using it to assess their CUs and to provide them with the basis for their CU action plans. Mental health experts Dr. Dinah Nadera and Dr. Lourdes Ignacio provided ideas for transforming educational systems and lives. Assistant Vice President for Public Affairs Jose Wendell Capili served as facilitator.
At the end of the summit, Vice President for Public Affairs Jose Dalisay Jr. expressed optimism: “This summit began in a very different mood. It was dismay approaching despair over the series of bad news we keep getting about what’s going on with our students. I’m glad that we turned that around into something that today is much more affirmative. This would lead to positive action very soon.”
“All of us are willing to do what it takes to reach out to our students and to one another with empathy, understanding, and kindness. That is after all what a community does,” Herbosa said.
Vice President for Academic Affairs Cynthia Rose Bautista, in her opening remarks, said the conference theme “suggests that UP as a national university is committed not only to promote honor and excellence but also to preserve dignity, a basic principle of mental health care.”
“The commitment starts by recognizing that emotions are part and parcel of the human experience and largely influence how effective we are in playing our roles in society,” Bautista said. (Jo. Lontoc, UP MPRO)