It has long been a dilemma of members of the student council to encourage active participation of students to extra-curricular activities. Faced by a difficulty, student officers have resorted into collecting fines from students who do not attend important assemblies.

Although widely practiced by organizations in the university, collecting fines has faced a lot of criticism. Now, the College of Engineering (CoE) has found a way around the problem by hitting two birds with one stone. The solution: donations, not fines.

Not fined

This June, some 943 underprivileged students will be receiving notebooks from CoE students. The CoE supreme student council (SSC) decided that instead of collecting fines for non-participation in student-related activities, the students are given options to contribute to the organization. They either donate notebooks, or do a community service. If students prefer neither, they may pay a max of P20.  

“Last year, I was thinking that maybe we can add an alternative, which is [donating notebooks]. It will teach the students to be responsible and inspire them to help those in need,” says Jesse James Layan, CoE SSC president.

As of May 16 this year, the CoE SSC officers packed some 4,717 notebooks for their Notebook mo, Sagot ko Program. The college plans to donate five notebooks to each elementary student in far-flung areas in Baybay City.

Last year, they were able to distribute five-notebook packs to 645 elementary pupils.

The selection of school beneficiaries was assisted by the Baybay City Division Office. Schools which are far from the city proper were prioritized, Layan added.

More participation

Since the implementation of the project, more students preferred to donate notebooks instead of paying 20php or doing community service for each missed organization meeting.  The innovation has since then improved the college’s financial and attendance system.

Moreover, Layan has another insight to the other College SSC leaders.

 “Put yourselves into the shoes of the students you serve. Assure them where their money goes and constantly update them with the org’s finances. Transparency is key,” Layan explains.