In conjunction with the university’s observance of the Bicentennial of the Restoration of the Society of Jesus (1814-2014) which officially culminated in a mass on 8th January of this year, the Arrupe Office of Social Formation (AOSF) through its Student Servant Leadership Program (SSLP) is eyeing on conducting the annual Ateneo Student Exposure Program (ASEP) at the four Jesuit mission stations in Bukidnon, namely Vendum, Zamboangita, Cabanglasan, and Miarayon.

The AOSF team will conduct its second ocular inspection of these areas on 26th-28th February, with the assistance of the Jesuit priests who are assigned in these four mission outposts. This year’s ASEP is scheduled on 30th March until 8th April, at the height of the Holy Week observance.

The ASEP is a yearly intensive exposure program intended as part of the social formation of the corps of Arrupe Vols and selected student leaders.  It is a program that was started in 1982 by Fr. Gorgonio “George” Esguerra, SJ, the then dean of the College of Arts and Sciences; it provides student volunteers and leaders the opportunity to undergo a concrete experience of living with poor communities for a period of one to two weeks, or more. The student participants will be assigned to stay with a foster family who will introduce and immerse them into their community’s way of life.  The ASEP participants are also expected to render some form of service to the community as a concrete expression of their solidarity in the spirit of living the core values of preferential option for the poor, community cooperation and empowerment, peacebuilding and peacemaking and intercultural dialogue.

In this year’s ASEP, the student participants will be exposed to the community life of the indigenous peoples (IPs) who inhabit these parts of Central Bukidnon, such as the Matigsulit and Ummajamñen (those living near the Ummayan and Sulit rivers), Tapayañen, Tigwahanon and Pulangihon (those living along the serpentine areas of the Pulangi River), among others.

The Arrupe Vols and student leaders who are expected to participate in the program have to go through a screening process, including seeking medical clearance and parents’ consent, before they are officially declared part of the roster of participants for this year’s ASEP. A separate meeting with the parents of those who have signified interest in joining is being planned before the end of this month.

The conduct of the ASEP has evolved through the years and has been contingent upon emerging needs. In 2013, Baganga (the site of the furious landfall of Super Typhoon Pablo) became the venue for ASEP; in 2014, the program was conducted at Brgy. Ngan in Compostela Valley, an area that also suffered from Pablo. (by Arrupe Communications)