Aklan State University-Banga Campus
Best Practice Focus Area/s
Leadership, Strategy, Human Resource
28 February 2020 to the present
This is a GBPR entry.
At the height of the pandemic, the Aklan State University (ASU) was at the forefront, ensuring a credible source of information through the Radio101 News Portal and the ASU Initiatives newsletter. The ASU also responded to the scarcity of alcohol through an Alcohol distillation innovation. The university also maintained and followed the IATF health and safety protocol while ensuring that it continued its delivery of services.
Background and Problem
When the Province of Aklan was put under the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ), several issues arose within the university and the community. There was a lack of adequate information dissemination and credible news source other than traditional mainstream media for the use of Aklan State University and the netizens. There was also a scarcity of alcohol and face masks/face shields as people started panic-buying and hoarding. Another problem was the continuity of the delivery of services in ASU while adhering to health and safety protocols set by the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF).
As a dynamic institution composed of experts and dedicated men and women, the ASU responded to these problems with well-thought-out strategies, policies, and innovations. It ventured into several best practices that have benefitted the university and its stakeholders, the community, and the people.
Solution and Impact
Faced with the challenges of the pandemic, the ASU identified issues in delivering its services. First, it does not have a platform for information dissemination for its community and stakeholders. Second, it has no adequate supplies of alcohol, face masks, face shields, and soap for its skeletal workforce. Last, it also needs to keep its operations vis-a-vis the health protocols set forth by the IATF, which means it has to lessen the number of personnel inside the campus.
In response to the first challenge, the ASU used the newly minted Radio101 of the School of Arts and Sciences as its official news and information dissemination platform on social media. It was renamed Radio101-Aklan State University News Portal, set up and managed by its team of Communication, Journalism, and IT faculty. The team got information from agencies and rephrased/rewrote it, so it was readable to its readers from all walks of life. The team also wrote news about activities in, updates on, and policies of the university. The news portal gained popularity on social media and gained readers’ trust, such that many people rely on this platform for their queries and as their source of information. Until now, Radio101 News Portal still exists and remains a credible source of news and information for the university and the community.
During the lockdown, alcohol scarcity was prevalent in Aklan. That is why local gin was used because it is readily available and can be distilled faster so they can supply it to offices that urgently need alcohol. The Science faculty of the School of Arts and Sciences, led by a licensed Chemical Engineer, began distilling 70% alcohol from local gin and produced liquid soap to provide the university with an ample supply of alcohol and soap for handwashing. They also donated some alcohol produced to several Rural Health Units, the provincial hospital, and a few government agencies.
To adhere to the requirement of the IATF for a skeletal workforce, the ASU administration released guidelines for Work From Home Arrangements for faculty and other personnel. During the lockdown, the faculty could conduct classes in the comfort and safety of their homes and be required to submit weekly or monthly accomplishments to their immediate heads. The university documented all these undertakings in the newsletter, the ASU Initiatives. The newsletter is composed of a multimedia committee. It includes innovations, activities, and community outreach programs conducted by the different units in Banga Campus and other campuses of the ASU. The newsletter in pdf format was posted weekly on Radio101 News Portal. Thus, the university’s stakeholders were kept informed and updated on the happenings within the campuses.
For the milestones, the post on Radio101-Aklan State University News Portal about CHED Chair Prospero de Vera’s pronouncement that students need not return to their respective universities to complete the semester has reached an unprecedented record of 110,000 people, the highest among the contents posted on the page. The post got over seven hundred (700) reactions and more than a hundred comments on the Facebook platform. Meanwhile, during the height of the pandemic, the Radio101-Aklan State University News Portal got 3,025 likes and over 3,100 followers. Currently, the news portal has over 7,000 likes and over 8,000 followers.
On the other hand, the alcohol production of the School of Arts and Sciences yielded 175 liters of 70% alcohol used within the university and other offices. The alcohol production also paved the way for community support as citizens donated rubber tubings for the distillation. It was even cited by CHED as a best practice and was featured on their social media page.
Meanwhile, the Work From Home arrangements among university personnel ensured that operations continued despite the lockdown. Accomplishment reports were properly monitored and submitted per degree-granting unit. The university also installed hand washing basins per office, alcohol supplies at strategic locations within university premises, and prepared enrollment facilities.
From March until May, the ASU Initiatives produced five issues, covering important undertakings/projects initiated, implemented, and organized by the different units of the ASU Banga as well as other campuses. The ASU Initiatives is planned to be updated into the official newsletter of the university, publishing news and information on university undertakings to support the University President’s development goals. The newsletter is slated to appear in print to be distributed to offices within the ASU.