Mariano Marcos State University
Best Practice Focus Area/s
Strategy, Citizens / Customers, Operations
This is a GBPR entry
Under Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ), all the operations of Mariano Marcos State University were suspended. However, the Office of Student Affairs and Services believed that their services needed to continue, especially during the current pandemic. As such, they initiated the program “OSAS Malakas: Effective and Efficient Management and Delivery of Student Services in all Seasons.” Through many innovations, the office enacted eight key activities that addressed students’ needs during the pandemic. They provided support in the form of relief goods, internet services, and even counseling.
Background and Problem
On 16 March 2020, the whole of Luzon was placed under Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ), and all Mariano Marcos State University operations were halted. Everyone was directed to stay at home, including the Office of Student Affairs and Services (OSAS) staff. The office believed their services needed to continue, especially during the current pandemic. But because OSAS is the main support unit of the students in the university, the office deemed it necessary that its services to the students continue, especially in times of crisis.
However, their major challenge was converting students’ activities, programs, projects, and other support services to the new normal. And aside from this, there were other restraints and restrictions. These included poor internet connections, constraints on human mobility due to the restrictions, lack of public transportation, lack of personal protective equipment and other protective gadgets, and the risk of contracting the virus while performing their duties.
However, the university has allowances for its offices to be responsive, innovative, and business-like in operations. And with this opportunity came the program OSAS Malakas: Effective and Efficient Management and Delivery of Student Services in all Seasons.
Solution and Impact
In the early stages of the OSAS program, the Chief of Student Development proposed conducting an online survey to learn the whereabouts of students who were stranded in their boarding houses and apartments and also know their needs during the lockdown. This survey was duly approved by the Director of OSAS and the Vice President for Academic Affairs of the university and was dubbed Oplan SAWAR (Student Activities, Whereabouts, and Recourse), an Ilocano word that means ‘to search. The results of this survey were then used as baseline data for more projects.
The following are the projects initiated and their achievements:
- Oplan SAWAR (Student Activities, Whereabouts, and Recourse)
- 141 stranded students in their dormitories and boarding houses were identified and provided relief goods, cash allowance, and online psycho-social support.
- Oplan PARUBBUAT (Program to Accompany and Return University Brothers/sisters to their Beloved Utmost Abodes thru Travel provisions)
- 23 stranded students were ferried back to their hometowns to reconnect with their families.
- Oplan SALINONG (an Ilocano term for shelter)
- 23 graduating students who were doing their thesis were accommodated at the university’s dormitory to enable them to work on their thesis within the university premises during the implementation of the Modified General Community Quarantine (MGCQ).
- Project pa-WIFI
- 50 graduating students were loaned pocket wi-fi’s.
- E-SALUN-AT (Electronic Space for Assistance thru Listening, Understanding, Nurturing, Affirmation, and Trust
- An online-based counseling service for students. It served all stranded students and even some non-stranded students from the university.
- Oplan Iyawat (Ilocano term for hand-in)
- Distribution of stipends to 583 academic scholars and 809 Tertiary Education Subsidy (TES) Recipients
- Project Tinnulong
- LGUs, DOST Alumni, MMSU alumni, and their friends, MMSU administrators, faculty, and non-teaching personnel, were invited to donate money and in-kind support to stranded students.
- Aside from the in-kind provisions, a total of Php171,900.00 was raised. Php101,000.00 was spent on the programs leaving a balance of Php70,900.00. This amount was deposited into the Oplan Sharing Amenities and Provisions to address Problems of University Youth with Online Tertiary (SAPPUYOT) account.
- Online Services and Activities
- The office transformed its mandated activities through various modalities. Online Career Guidance was conducted to prepare our graduates for their future job applications. The orientation of the university was conducted through online modalities, and student activities were also conducted during the pandemic. Also, services like submission of Certificate of Grades for Scholars and issuance of Certificate of Good Moral Character were also converted to online modalities.
OSAS aims to ensure the sustainability of the many programs they have initiated. As such, with the help of the university’s Institutional Student Programs and Services, they initiated Project SAPPUYOT (Sharing Amenities and Provisions to address Problems of University Youth with Online Tertiary). It addresses a broader range of students’ needs through financial assistance. It aims to utilize the available seed money of the university to offer immediate assistance to students affected by the pandemic and eventually to all university students.