The Ateneo Law Student Council together with Dean Sedfrey Candelaria and Associate Dean for Student Affairs Giovanni Vallente. Photo by Cyndy P. dela Cruz

Student Council Mid-Sem Report

SCHOOL year 2014-2015 is set to be the last June-March academic calendar year that the Ateneo Law School (ALS) will experience. This year marks the transition year to the August-May calendar year to be implemented for S.Y. 2015-2016.

To put the incoming year into perspective, the Council decided to adopt core values to guide the officers in the exercise of their duties. The core values chosen are accountability, commitment, and professionalism. Adding to this list are the sub-values of fairness, consistency, and optimism.

Aside from core values, goals were also set by the Council which are: (1) to make a transformative difference as a Council; (2) to come up with projects catering to the welfare of students; and (3) to establish systems to be followed by future councils.

In April, the Student Council headed the graduation ceremonies of ALS Batch 2014, which is comprised of the Blue Roast held at Top Shelf in Bonifacio Global City, the Baccalaureate Mass, and the formation of the Graduation Committee.

In May, the system for accreditation was released to the organizations, which included a primer on the budget system of the Council for this year. The first SC Newsletter was also published this month. The Newsletter contains a recap of recently concluded activities in school and a roundup of things to expect for the coming week. Block primers and the electives primer were also disseminated to help guide the students for the first semester. A dynamic Orientation Seminar (OrSem) entitled “Law School Musical” was also prepared by the sophomore students for the 300 incoming freshmen.

The first day of classes last June 2 also marked the first day of the Recruitment Week for the organizations. Many student organizations are experiencing record numbers in their membership this year. The start of AY 2014-2015 also commenced the Council’s partnership with Potato Corner, Tea Delight, Shakey’s, Kiehl’s, and other establishments that students should watch out for.

June also marked the last month of the seniors to write their respective theses. The Council provided them a checklist of the requirements, CDs, as well as printing services. New eSCRA accounts were also purchased for each batch. A revamped version of the Blue Card was distributed to the students in the same month. It entitles every ALS student to various discounts and freebies with several partner establishments such as California Pizza Kitchen, Chili’s, Cali Burger, iHop, Twelve Cupcakes, and Early Bird Breakfast Club, among others. The number of book allowance grantees was also raised to 20 for this semester. The Council also decided to maintain its various student services such as free coffee, free printing, and free use of umbrellas.

A stronger relationship between the Ateneo Law Alumni Association and the Student Council is also being forged this year via the Council’s participation in the planning seminar of the ALAAI and its continued presence in ALAAI projects such as the Legal Aid Mission in Muntinlupa held in June. For this year’s Bar examinees, Room 304 was made available as a study room. LSAC was also rearranged to provide an exclusive area for the Barristers.

In July, the Student Council Grievance Page was released. This is a part of the ongoing efforts to continually improve the communication between the Council and the student body. In conjunction, the Student Council Facebook page, Twitter page, and the Newsletter are being used for better information dissemination. The Council also released its own statement on the Disbursement Allocation Program. During this month, an Advocacy Building Seminar in partnership with the Ten Outstanding Students of the Philippines-NCR (TOSP) was graced by Ms. Gang Badoy of RockED, Atty. Glenn Tuazon, Atty. Jaymie Reyes, Atty. Kenjie Aman, and Angel Bombarda of TOSP. This project gave the opportunity for leaders of the ALS organizations to identify their advocacies and forge partnerships with other student groups in implementing projects which correspond to their respective advocacies

In preparation for the midterm examinations, the Student Council Samplex Database was updated. Also, instead of writing individual letters to the Law School Administration regarding one’s conflict in an elective exam schedule, students were asked to fill up an online form, which were consolidated and forwarded to the Dean’s secretary. To mark the conclusion of the Midterms Week, the ALS Sportsfest was held. This year, the students had the chance to play not just against each other, but also against various Ateneo Law alumni and faculty members, such as Dean Sedfrey Candelaria, Associate Dean Giovanni Vallente, Atty. Mickey Ingles, and Atty. Ronald Chua.

Given the above mentioned projects, the Council recognizes that there can still be improvements. The current enrollment procedure of electives remains to be quite problematic for many students, especially being forced to take electives they do not intend to take. The Council will continue to dialogue with the Law School Administration regarding this. The Council is also currently working with the Administration in order to address possible issues regarding the calendar shift next year. Also, reports of violence between members of the Law School community have been circulating. The Student Council is in support of the Law School Administration for the continued investigation and accountability of those who may have been involved.

Projects to look out for

The Council will push for the renovation of the LSAC this October. This will be in partnership with the Student Council 2013-2014, represented by its President, Bang Dizon. Negotiations with various establishments, such as Mongkok and Pepper Lunch, are still ongoing for possible Blue Card partnerships. To appreciate and further empower the beadles, a Beadles Seminar will be held this year. There will also be a Career Fair, which will be held during the second semester to help sophomores and juniors find the firms to have their internships at, as well as to aid seniors with future employment.

Also, an Alternative Class Program will be held in the second semester to give an opportunity for students to learn about various fields of interest, which are not necessarily talked about within the four walls of the ALS classroom. Finally, the student body can also expect forums, fun activities, and other opportunities for volunteerism, as the Council continues to find avenues to be of service and to accomplish the goals it set out at the start of its term. P

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