The school year (SY) 2012-2013 has been such a blessing for the National Service Training Program-Civic Welfare Training Service (NSTP/CWTS) because it unfolded more formative opportunities for the administration, faculty and students to concretize its goals and objectives in line with the vision and mission of the university. The program upholds the general framework of active and engaged citizenship for nation-building as encompassed in the various sub-themes in its curriculum mandated by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) such as drug education, disaster risk reduction and management awareness, environmental protection, values development, leadership training, community exposure, needs assessment, service, and program evaluation, among others. This is further enhanced by thematic modules which embodied the social thrust of the Society of Jesuit as articulated in several Jesuit documents, the strategic directions of the Society of Jesus Social Apostolate (SJSA) and the compendium of the Catholic social teaching.  As part of the formation cluster, it is anchored under the Arrupe Office of Social Formation, which ultimately falls under the governance of the Ignatian Spirituality and Formation Office (ISFO).  As a program which just celebrated its 11th year this school year, these are some of the highlights:

The NSTP/CWTS was involved in the implementation of Integrated Research Instruction and Social Engagement Approach, or its appealing acronym I-RISE, a modular vehicle that attempts to integrate research, instruction and social engagement, hence providing a wider discursive space where crucial societal issues are brought to an open, fruitful, and reflective discourse among various university stakeholders, particularly among students. In which case, a cluster of NSTP/CWTS classes participated in the pre-survey and post-survey pertaining to the Framework Agreement of the Bangsamoro (FAB), even as the pre-forum and post-forum modules were rolled out in the this cluster of 11 NSTP/CWTS classes. Students and faculty represented their classes during the actual forum which took place at the Finster Auditorium.

All NSTP/CWTS classes invested time and resources in responding to the tall order of the University President, Fr. Joel E. Tabora of the Society of Jesus, to provide relief assistance to areas which took a heavy pounding from Typhoon Pablo. On 22nd December 2013, food packs and other relief items were delivered to the town of Tarragona in Caraga Region by NSTP/CWTS administrators, faculty and volunteers.

The NSTP/CWTS actively participated in the university’s initiative to promote electoral and political education through the Blue Vote 2013. In conjunction with the Arrupe Office, the ISFO, the Office of Academic Vice President (AVP) and the University Community Engagement and Advocacy Council (UCEAC), a select group of NSTP/CWTS faculty took part in the Community Reflection Session which aimed to prepare the different sectors of the Ateneo community for a more informed decision regarding the national and local elections in May of 2013. In coordination with the University Research Council (URC), all NSTP/CWTS classes were required to participate in the online electoral survey from 25 February to 1st of March 2013.

The NSTP/CWTS coordinates with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) by facilitating substance abuse prevention education in all classes.  Likewise, it coordinates with the Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC) in facilitating disaster risk reduction and management sessions rolled out in all NSTP/CWTS classes.

The NSTP/CWTS partnered with the Department of Languages through the Language Center on a study which focused on the use of language/s in the different partner communities of NSTP/CWTS. This research intended to do a language mapping of the different areas in Davao City in order to determine the mother tongue being used as the language of instruction from Kindergarten to Grades 1 to 3 under the K-12 implementation. In which case, NSTP/CWTS students, assisted by the corps of Arrupe Volunteers, did the language profiling of the different areas covered under the program on 25th August and 1st September 2012.

For the first time in eleven (11) years, two of our NSTP/CWTS Volunteers will be joining the Ateneo Student Exposure Program (ASEP) from 25th March to 7th April 2013, which is one of the flagship programs of the Arrupe Office. The ASEP is an institutional student exposure program which started thirty-one (31) years ago in 1982 with the aim of providing a particular venue for student volunteers and student leaders to be exposed/immersed in different marginalized areas.  This year’s ASEP’s program design is a departure from its usual course in the sense that the identified areas for exposure/immersion are those in the Municipality of Baganga in the Province of Davao Oriental―areas that took a heavy pounding from the onslaught of Typhoon Pablo. (By M. Isabel S. Actub, Arrupe Communications & Advocacy)