VOLUNTEERISM BETWEEN SHIFTS: Universitas Holds Workshop-Seminar for Speakers and Facilitators
The participants of the seminar on the first day
by Neil Nabuab
“It is a volunteer work for busy people,” said Atty. Oliver Tuazon, CEO of Universitas Foundation, Inc., when he explained what Universitas Leadership Program or ULP was. He said this before the volunteers who come from different fields such as Medicine, Law, and Banking, among others. Indeed, they are busy people whose schedules are always full.
ULP aims to develop a pool of speakers who share and live the same values which the Foundation espouses. These volunteers are free to give the workshops and talks to their preferred group, subject to the approval of the Management Committee.
The seminar ran for two days, January 5 and 6, 2019, to accommodate more volunteers at the Universitas Office in Escriva Drive, Ortigas. The atmosphere of the seminar was informal, light and cordial – notwithstanding the age and professional differences of the participants.
The participants were given a workshop kit which consisted of a notebook, the workshop book and a copy of the book Back to the Basics, edited and co-written by CEO & President Atty. Oliver Tuazon.
It started with the participants designing their own nametags. They had to describe themselves using an adjective that started with the first letter of their names. It was a lively moment as the participants devised the best and funniest adjectives that would describe themselves.
The seminar consisted of three main areas, namely, the Person, the Leader and the Nation. Each talk was accompanied by a workshop. However, in accordance with ULP structure, the workshop was given first, then followed by the talk, following the OPTI Method, that is “Output Prior to Input.”
The first workshop was the making of a coat of arms. The participants were given a few minutes to draw their own coat of arms with a motto, to assess their self-knowledge. The participants included in their coat of arms the things that they value most. A number of participants were called to show their output and explain it. This workshop showed that the volunteers also have an artistic side. The succeeding talk focused on values and virtues. Some video clips were shown to emphasize the content of the talks.
The second workshop focused on the portrait of a leader. This gave the volunteers a chance to create a leader they want to have. Using clay, they molded it to create an ideal leader. The talk on leadership followed.
The third workshop focused on “My ideal country.” It was the liveliest and loudest of all the workshops. The participants were asked to make a shoebox, only to find out that their own shoebox would be exchanged with another group for that other group to design it. This was then followed by a talk on “Youth and Nation Building”.
As a participant, what I took home from the seminar is the importance of little things. I thought that somewhere in a tiny office in Ortigas Center blossoms a new set of leaders who have competence, character and conscience. I personally believe that all superheroes can choose not to wear a costume. They can wear a suit and tie, or a white coat, or a running attire. This is what I learned from the ULP, there is greatness in the ordinary. We just need to hone it and pass it on. This is what, I think, Universitas and its founders are trying to do.
Having finished the course, I hope that more people would be reached by the ULP. There is a great responsibility that was entrusted to me when I decided to join the pool of speakers. I know that many young people are restless for better leaders and governance. However, restlessness cannot be enough. It demands a concrete action. Thus, the last activity, which was making a bookmark, the making of a bookmark demanded from us our wishes for the country and little concrete acts to realize them. I took it seriously and, right now, I am using the bookmark I made in the novel I am currently reading.
A day that was well-spent can seem insignificant in comparison with the rest of the 365 days that constitute a year. But then, as was observed by a saint, an imposing building is made up of small bricks, of little things. Thus, for the participants, that one ordinary day when they attended the ULP seminar served as a groundwork of their volunteerism.