The Ateneo Student Exposure Program (ASEP) of the Arrupe Office of Social Formation (formerly the Social Involvement Coordinating Office [SICO]) begins today, 25th March and ends on 7th April 2013.  A total of thirteen (13) student volunteers and leaders have made the final cut of those who will be participating in this summer program, kicking off today with a pre-exposure orientation seminar/workshop at C-203 and C-204. After the three-day orientation, the participants will be fielded in four (4) different communities and institutions in the Municipality of Baganga in Davao Oriental for a period of nine (9) days.  After the actual exposure, another three (3) days will be devoted to reflection, post-ASEP processing and commissioning.

The participants will be clustered into four (4) groups upon deployment and will be accompanied by four (4) faculty companions who are also expected to join the actual exposure/immersion.  The areas identified as the locus of the exposure/immersion are the following: Sitio Upper Mikit (poblacion area), Brgy. Campawan (in the sitio of Marquez), the tent community of Balay Mindanaw in Brgy. Ban-ao, and the Sacred Heart Parish of Lambajon.  As in all of Baganga, or Davao Oriental for that matter, these areas suffered massive devastation caused by Typhoon Pablo.  These partner communities/institutions signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with the Ateneo de Davao University (ADDU) with regard to the conduct of the exposure/immersion.

The ASEPians of Batch 2013                                    

The thirteen (13) participants for this year’s ASEP are the following: Allen Faith Cape (ABIS-ASST 3); Patrick John Comoda (BSIE 3); Kristoni Go (ABIS-ASST 3); Jannabel Moya (AB PSYCH 3); Peter Paul Paras (BSA 3); Sarah Joy Reyes (BS BIO 3); Angelie Jane Robles (BSBM 3); Marie Claire Ruyeras (BS BIO 3); Kristoffe Milano Abellera (BS ECE 3); Ralph Robin Tongcua (BSME 4); Daniel Dayao (BSBM 3); Leendolph Lloyd Te (BS MATH 3); and Albert Mardione Mozo (BS-ME 4).

Faculty Joining the Exposure/Immersion

The faculty companions who will act as area guides are the following: Ian Clark Parcon of the Arrupe Office and the Philosophy Department, Gina Villagonzalo of the Campus Ministry and the Arrupe Office, Eufemia Faller of the School of Education, and Janice Camanan of the Arrupe Office. A clinical psychologist from the Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan, Lyra Verzosa, will also accompany the contingent, along with two batches of Arrupe personnel who will each take turns in manning the homebase in central Baganga for the whole duration of the exposure/immersion.

Aim and Goal of the Program

The thrust of the ASEP is to provide a specific venue for student volunteers and leaders to be exposed/immersed in different marginalized areas.  Through their participation in the program, the student participants will be given a concrete and first-hand experience of the lives of the people in these communities, and provided with opportunities to live out the demands of generous service in the spirit of solidarity, participation and cooperation, voluntary simplicity of lifestyle, preferential option for the poor and social justice–values that will enhance the call toward faith-driven volunteerism and leadership.  Moreover, this intensive formative activity will hopefully deepen the students’ spirituality of service and consciousness regarding pertinent social issues affecting the greater society.  Lastly, it also endeavours to form their sense of responsibility toward living a life that pays heed to the continuing challenge of Jesuit education, which is to form men and women for others (and with others) and social change agents who are grounded in the social realities of the day. This is ASEP’s thirty-third year (33rd) of existence, founded in 1978 by Fr. George Esguerra, SJ, the former dean of the-then College of Arts & Sciences.

Process in Joining the ASEP

Students who made the final roster of this year’s ASEP participants applied for the program as early as January. Those who signified interest were then given a series of preliminary orientations regarding the nature of the program, after which they secured parents’ consent and procured medical clearance before eventually being given the go signal to join the program. A separate parents’ meeting was conducted by the Arrupe Office on 10th March inorder to orient them on the nature and design of this year’s program.  Indeed, securing parents’ consent is very vital in allowing the students to be part of the roster of participants, which is to say that though many signified interest and have attempted to apply, only a few made the final cut.

Invitation Extended to Non-Arrupe Volunteers

For the first time in a very long time since its inception, the ASEP this year is extended not only to the corps of Arrupe volunteers (otherwise known as the SICO volunteers) but also to other student leaders and volunteers coming from the SAMAHAN Central Board, the Campus Club Organizations (CCO), the National Service Training Program/Civic Welfare Training Service (NSTP/CWTS) and the Ateneo Inter-Religious Organizations (AIRO). The reason for opening up the ASEP to non-Arrupe volunteers is partly due to the restructuring of this year’s program design, primarily addressing the rehabilitation and reconstruction needs of communities devastated by the impact of December’s Typhoon Pablo.  This year’s ASEP participants are, therefore, expected to conduct programs and activities related to Pablo rehabilitation work, in close coordination with the host communities in their specific areas of assignment.

Laying the Spadework

The Arrupe Office did extensive preparations for this summer’s ASEP, headed by Mr. Noriel Rogon, coordinator of the Student Servant Leadership Program (where the ASEP is lodged under) and Mr. Karl Anthony Ebol, the office’s Community Engagement Officer.  The office conducted three separate area scannings in Baganga from February to March, coordinated directly with the heads of the communities/institutions that were eventually chosen as the venues of the exposure/immersion, and facilitated the signing of the MOA.

Using the Ignatian Pedagogical Paradigm (IPP) as its way of proceeding, an extensive pre-exposure orientation seminar/workshop on 25th-26th March at C-203 precedes the actual exposure. To boot, a whole-day psychosocial training/orientation will be given to the participants by Ms. Verzosa on 27th March at Manresa-by-the-Sea. On 28th March, the Arrupe Office personnel will then personally accompany the participants to and from their specific areas of exposure/immersion, while maintaining a homebase in Baganga for purposes of monitoring and documentation.  The homebase in Baganga will serve as the nerve center of the operation for the whole duration of the exposure/immersion. A three-day post-exposure reflection/processing session and commissioning will again be conducted at Manresa-by-Sea, capping the two-week program which ends on 7th April.

The rest of the corps of Arrupe volunteers constitute the different committees that are actively involved in the planning and implementation of the pre- and post-exposure orientation seminars/workshops.

For regular updates on the ASEP, or any program of the Arrupe Office, visit (By M. Isabel S. Actub, Arrupe Communications & Advocacy)