This year’s annual University Days (U-Days) appears to take a different turn—with the Holy Angel University-University Student Council (HAU-USC) theming this year’s U-Days, “Biyahe: Kasabay ng Tagumpay,” it attempts to expand the four-day celebration with social relevance.
Though seemingly relevant as it tries to connect to the struggle of drivers amidst jeepney phaseout and modernization policies, the U-Days 2024 theme “Biyahe” merely stands as a performative and shallow attempt to progressiveness with tangible and value-adding actions, in support to the plight of jeepney drivers and operators, still unseen and unclear.
Since the launch of U-Days 2024, HAU-USC has only taken to social media to post superficial captions that only gave mere glimpses of the focal points of the event’s “Biyahe” theme.
For instance, posts that include captions similar to one posted as “I will never stop supporting our drivers, and of course, I am prepared to face every challenge that comes my way during these University Days,” come across as forced attempts to make their releases thematically and socially relevant—without specific and attainable expressions of support to the jeepney sector.
But even in the aspect of concrete actions, HAU-USC fails to give the public, and the Angelites in specific, their course to how they truly intend to apply this year’s theme.
Despite fundraiser events being the sale of official U-Days shirts, sponsorship and partnership fees, and the imposition of a ticketing system for outsiders with a 100-peso fee, no transparency has been seen from the student council as to whether any portion of their proceeds will go to a benefiting group of jeepney drivers and operators.
Up until now when there is only about a week before the four-day uniwide event, HAU-USC admits that they are still in the selection process of choosing their beneficiaries and desisted in giving a categorical response if they are taking up a situationer on the status of jeepney drivers in Pampanga.
Those mentioned stand contradictory to their very theme of carrying along jeepney drivers to progress when the said office itself does not know the former’s actual plight, and does not transparently lay out a plan to actually uplifting the sector to whom they centralized the U-Days for.
All things considered, it is evident that the council is out of touch with the social issues it claims to care about. Rather than truly understanding and empathizing with the struggles of the marginalized sector, it seemingly exploits their challenges to boost its own reputation and appear socially aware.
As troubling as it may seem, their actions paint a picture conveying that the council only pays attention to the struggles of the masses, when it serves their own agenda.
If the council truly stands genuine in its theme’s purpose, it must go beyond crafting superficial and insincere messages, which clearly stem from their positions of privilege rather than the harsh realities of the status quo.
Hence, it should empower the sector it tends to capitalize with by sharing their lived stories with the Angelite community, thereby fostering a genuine connection between our university and the struggles of our society.
Ultimately, the council must take a proactive stance on social issues, rather than being passive and only showing concern when it directly affects them. It must remember that genuine student leadership entails consistent dedication to social causes not just when it is convenient—but always, in all ways.