Extension is one of the trifocal functions of higher education institutions. Over the years, the Silliman University Extension Program (SUEP) has sustained its existence by trying its best to respond to the changing needs of the times through short-term projects by academic units and innovative student learning in communities. In 2019, SUEP became the Office of Community Engagement and Service-Learning (OCESL). OCESL’s vision is to “transform and empower communities and students to become sensitive and responsive to societal needs as an expression of Christian faith.”
The Office of Community Engagement and Service-Learning has three (3) functions: Community Extension Services, Volunteerism Community Service, and Service-Learning and Community-engaged Teaching-and-Learning. The OCESL coordinates community engagements of academic and non-academic units of Silliman University and sets forward a shared understanding of the mission of the university to partner with communities and the environment at large. OCESL endeavors to set a direction toward integrated scholarship where engagements with communities are crucial in instruction, research, and extension.
The OCESL brings to the surface a “coordinated, integrated, and holistic” approach to community development among academic and non-academic units with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as the framework and/or blueprint for addressing global problems in the local setting.
The OCESL is guided by Silliman University’s mission to “instill in all members of the University community an enlightened social consciousness and a deep sense of justice and compassion” and “promote unity among peoples and contribute to national development. The OCESL integrates community engagements such as extension, volunteerism, and Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET.)
The Functions of OCESL
The primary functions of OCESL of Silliman University are Community Extension, Volunteerism and Community Service, Service-Learning, and Technical and Vocational Training (TVET).
The functions are underpinned by the vision of Silliman University as “a leading Christian institution committed to total human development for the well-being of society and environment.” It is grounded on the domains of (1.) Community extension services focus on sharing and transferring knowledge and newer technologies from the university towards community development, (2.) volunteerism and community service, (3.) Service-Learning and other teaching and learning pedagogies in the community setting and Technical and Vocational Training (TVET).
- Community Extension Services
Community Extension Services aim to transfer innovative technologies and up-to-date knowledge that are produced by Silliman University. The ultimate goal is to empower and develop communities, guided by OCESL’s vision of “transformed, empowered, and self-reliant communities living in harmony with the environment.” Extension services may be in the form of projects and collaborative undertakings with appropriate agencies and/or institutions.
- Volunteerism and Community Service
Volunteerism is an institutionalized program at OCESL that aims to instill the values and a lifetime commitment to volunteerism as a part of community service. It is envisioned that the spirit of volunteerism, its concepts, and its values will be imbibed and sustained by the participants in the different OCESL communities even long after the project is completed or terminated. The desirable characteristics of volunteerism that we want to develop are (1.) it is done by personal choice, (2.) it is done without expectations or desired monetary reward or credit, and (3.) it is for the benefit of the communities being served.
- Service-Learning and other teaching and learning pedagogies in the community setting
OCESL also provides teaching-learning opportunities in a community-based setting. Specifically, this is exemplified in Service-Learning, community internship programs, and civic education with the Civic Welfare Training Service. It also collaborates with some academic units that have engagements with communities wherein students and faculty members are immersed in real-life learning situations while conducting development projects.
OCESL Program Components
- Silliman University Marina Mission Clinic (SUMMC): A Healing and Teaching-and-Learning Facility of Community Extension at Silliman University
SUMMC, at different stages of its development, has assumed different or focused functions. Historically, at one time, it was a maternity or lying-in clinic. During some period of its existence, it served as a primary clinic that offered basic medical and health services to nearby communities. During the last decade, SUMMC was refurbished with support from alumni and friends of the university. Two distinct functions have arisen. One is the clinic-based healing facility for some minor medical services and referral services to government and private hospitals in the city. The other function of SUMMC was a center for community-based-community-managed health programs and minor livelihood programs. At one time, it was also a site for internships for students from the Medical School, Institute of Rehabilitative Sciences, Institute of Clinical Laboratories Sciences, and Nutrition and Dietetics Department.
SUMMC is envisioned to be a hub of teaching and learning, particularly in community development and laboratory, for medical, allied medical, and social sciences programs of the university. Part of the teaching-and-learning experiences will be community services with health as an entry point.
- Technical Educational Vocational and Entrepreneurial Center (TEVEC)
The TEVEC is conceived as the Technical and Vocational Training (TVET) unit of the university, offering technical and vocational training programs for Filipino youth from low socioeconomic status to develop “skills for work and life” (UNESCO, 2022).
TEVEC adopts UNICEF’s definition of TVET “vocational education is defined as educational programs designed for learners to acquire the knowledge, skills, and competencies specific to a particular occupation, trade, or class of occupations or trades. Such programs may have work-based components (e.g., apprenticeships and dual-system education programs). Successful completion of such programs leads to labor market-relevant vocational qualifications acknowledged as occupationally-oriented by the relevant national authorities and the labor market.”
TEVEC shall be developed as a program in the extension modality. At this point, a review and evaluation of the TEVEC (formerly SAITE) will be conducted to fit the overall goals and objectives of OCESL.
International Service-Learning Program
In partnership with overseas universities, International Service-Learning (IS-L) is a short-term program in Service Learning a collaborative partnership with overseas universities. It is a community-engaged teaching-and-learning program that provides the participants with real-world learning experiences in Philippine rural communities. ISL adapts Service-Learning as its teaching-and-learning pedagogy.
The program participants, along with Silliman University students, are immersed in learning activities that highlight the realities in the grassroot communities and Service-Learning to address community needs and promote development. ISL engagements are customized learning programs that address the learner’s specific learning goals/requirements or objectives in their home universities or colleges.
ISL is a non-degree and non-credit-bearing program. However, credits may be awarded to students depending on the agreed terms and conditions indicated in the agreement between Silliman University and a partner foreign university.
Over the years, IS-L has engaged with different foreign universities from the United States of America, Japan, Hong Kong, Japan, and Thailand.
- International Christian University, Japan
- George Mason University, USA
- Francis Parker School, USA
- Chaminade University, Hawaii, USA
- Calvin University, USA
- Bangkok University, Thailand
- Chung Chi College, Hong Kong
Community-based Internship Program
Community is an integral component of Whole Person Education at Silliman University, which encompasses community engagements, both curricular and non-curricular activities. The OCESL is responsible for promoting community engagement on campus, including the Community-based Internship Program. This program offers structured experiential learning opportunities for Social Work, Psychology, and other undergraduates using Service-Learning as the pedagogy. The OCESL collaborates with academic departments, enabling students to work with community-based organizations, non-governmental organizations, and sectoral groups in Negros Oriental.
The OCESL acknowledges that Community-based Internships and service learning are crucial to realizing Silliman University’s vision of becoming a leading Christian institution committed to developing individuals holistically and improving society and the environment.
11 Days of Sharing
11 Days of Sharing is a student-volunteer-led outreach program implemented during Silliman University’s Founding Celebration from August 19 to 29. Student volunteers initiate outreach projects/activities with partner communities of Silliman University.
A collaborative endeavor organized in partnership with the OCESL, Silliman University Student Government (SUSG), Committee on Student Organizations (ComSO), and various units within Silliman University, 11 Days of Sharing was initiated during the University’s 114th founding celebration in 2015. The program encompasses an 11-day series of outreach activities led by student volunteers.
The core objective of the “11 Days of Sharing” is to foster unity and collaboration among different communities and sectors and serve as an opportunity to showcase Silliman University’s vibrant and active student volunteerism. Moreover, it embodies the ethos of social responsibility by extending resources, experiences, and the cherished “Hibalag Experience” with partner communities and/or sectors.
This initiative unites students, faculty, and staff in the spirit of volunteerism and camaraderie, extending the “Silliman Spirit” with partner communities.
OCESL and Sustainable Development Goals
The OCESL pins its functions on the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The SDGs are the framework and blueprint of OCESL in addressing global problems in the local setting.
- No Poverty
- Zero hunger
- Good health and well-being
- Quality education
- Gender equality
- Clean water and sanitation
- Affordable and clean energy
- Decent work and economic growth
- Industry, innovation, and infrastructure
- Reduced inequalities
- Sustainable cities and communities
- Responsible consumption and production
- Climate action
- Life below water
- Life on land
- Peace, justice, and strong institutions
Partnerships for the goals
OCESL Mainstreams Volunteerism and Community Service in 2023-2024
The Office of Community Engagement and Service-Learning (OCESL) is taking the lead in promoting volunteerism and community engagement among Silliman University students, faculty members, and alumni for the academic year 2023-2024. The Volunteerism and Community Service program, an integral function of OCESL, aims to instill the values of volunteerism and a lifelong commitment to community service within the Silliman University community. This program envisions nurturing the spirit of volunteerism, embedding its concepts and values as an expression of Christian faith, and personifying the university’s Whole Person Education, all of which will be embraced by volunteers in collaboration with various OCESL partner communities.
Key characteristics promoted by OCESL in volunteerism and community service include the following: (a.) it is a personal choice to engage in volunteer activities; (b.) volunteers contribute without expecting monetary rewards or personal credit; and (c.) the primary focus is on benefiting the communities being served.
During the current school year, OCESL, in collaboration with the Silliman University Student Government (SUSG) and the Student Organizations and Activities Division (SOAD), successfully organized the 7th edition of “11 Days of Sharing.”
“11 Days of Sharing” is a volunteer-led outreach program that coincides with Silliman University’s Founding Celebration, running from August 19 to 29. Students, faculty members, and alumni volunteers spearhead outreach projects and activities in collaboration with OCESL’s partner communities.
In 2023, “11 Days of Sharing” witnessed impactful outreach activities and initiatives involving the following partner agencies:
- City Social Welfare and Development Office – Casa Esperanza
- City Social Welfare and Development Office – Dumaguete Youth Home
- Dumaguete City District Jail – Female Dormitory
- Gawad Kalinga, Valencia
- Libjo Women Self-help Group (LIBWOS)
- Senior Citizen Barangay Buñao Cluster
- Day Care Centers in Dumaguete City: Cadawinonan School-based Center, Cadawinonan Socialized Housing Project 1, and Project 2
- Boloc-boloc Farmers Association (BOFAS)
- Little Children of the Philippines Foundation Inc.
- Scandinavian Housing Village
- Negros Oriental Provincial Hospital Behavioral Care Center
Approximately 115 students volunteered, raising funds, mobilizing resources, and executing various activities and initiatives with support from friends and alumni. These dedicated volunteers represented many student organizations in the university, including:
- Alpha Phi Omega – Gamma Chapter
- Silliman University Biology Society
- Silliman University Junior Philippine Institute of Accountants (SU JPIA)
- Junior Philippine Society of Mechanical Engineers – Silliman University Chapter (JPSME – SU)
- College of Arts and Sciences Council
- RED SHIELD Fraternity
- Institute of Computer Engineers of the Philippines – Silliman University Chapter
- Business Analytic Students’ Society (BASS)
- Philippine Institute of Civil Engineers – Silliman University Student Chapter
- American Concrete Institute Philippines – Silliman University Student Chapter
- SUSG Dorm Life Committee
- Silliman Aggies Club
- SUSG High School Affairs
- Ang Sandigan
- Medical Technology Society (MTSOC)
- Silliman University Red Cross Youth (SURCY)
- Silliman Operations Management Executive Society (SOMES)
- School of Public Affairs and Governance (SPAG SOC)
- Silliman University Producing and Songwriting Artists (SUPASA)
- Young Entrepreneurs Society of Silliman (YESS)
- Beta Epsilon
- Silliman University Future Electrical Engineers (SUFEE)
- Silliman University Psychology Society
- Silliman University College of Nursing Association
- Kapunungan ng mga Mass Communicators
- History and Political Science Society
- Renaissance Youth Leaders Forum
- Silliman University Junior Social Workers Association of the Philippines
- Department of Science and Technology Scholars Association – Silliman University (DOST SA SU)
- Silliman University Junior Financial Executives (SU JFINEX)
- United Architects of the Philippines Student Auxiliary – Silliman University Chapter (UAPSA-SU)
The success of this year’s “11 Days of Sharing” was made possible with support from student organizations, alumni, the Silliman University Community Cooperative Inc. – Community Development Committee, and Dr. Evangeline Bravo-Manjares.
“OCESL is committed to fostering volunteerism and community service within the Silliman University community, aligning with the university’s vision of being a Christian institution dedicated to holistic human development for the betterment of society and the environment. This initiative also contributes to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. We remain dedicated to offering a platform and support for Silliman University students, faculty members, and alumni to engage with partner communities, collaboratively addressing challenges through volunteerism and community service”, Novee E. Maestrecampo Jr., OCESL Director, said in a statement.
If you would like to learn more about the OCESL’s volunteerism and community service program or are interested in supporting it, please don’t hesitate to contact us via email at [email protected].