RIPPLES, an acronym for Responsive, Innovative, Proactive and Passionate Leaders by Example and for Social Change, is a seven-day intensive training camp for all student leaders of the four campuses of Carlos Hilado Memorial State College (CHMSC). It was initiated, proposed and organized by the Director for External Affairs, Rhoderick K. Samonte in April 2017 which brought together the Office for Student Affairs, Center for External Affairs, Guidance Services, Sports Affairs, and Cultural Affairs. The camp is an intensive course which covers leadership principles, values, skills, and best practices for students to emulate and exemplify.
Background and Problem
Prior to 2017, the CHMSC did not have an institutional training program for its student leaders. Evidence for lack of training manifested in the way students managed their organizations, activities, and resources. If CHMSC was to realize its mission of empowering “a human resource that responds effectively to challenges in life and act as catalyst in the holistic development of a humane society” it must introduce a viable program for its student leaders. Thus, RIPPLES Training Camp was established. The 7-day leadership camp is an intensive training course for student leaders on the premise that their collective action after the camp can have a far-reaching impact on the school and the community, just like a ripple. The RIPPLES program embodies the desirable qualities the CHMSC would like to see in its student leaders consistent with the institution’s vision, mission and core values.
Solution and Impact
Leadership is not inherent, it depends upon the traits which can be developed, and upon the application of principles and skills which can be taught and learned through training. Leaders are often good leaders because they have been trained well to become one. A good training program with a strong input on values formation, skills and character building through experiential learning will lead to the empowerment of student leaders who are mission-driven, competent, and committed to the greater good of the school and the society. Article 2, Section 4 of the Commission on Higher Education Memorandum Order No. 9, Series of 2013 known as the Enhanced Policies and Guidelines on Student Affairs and Services mandates all Higher Education Institutions to provide student-centered activities which will develop holistic and well-rounded students who will become responsible citizens and leaders. RIPPLES is CHMSC’s concrete step to fulfill this mandate. A team of professors, students and alumni volunteers across the four CHMSC campuses were engaged in a series of brainstorming and planning until the proposal was submitted to and approved by the president. The school allocated a budget and committed to invest annually for the program’s sustainability. Three years after the RIPPLES training, student leaders from the four campuses became more conscious of their roles and responsibilities. They became more connected and engaged, and the school has recognized the efforts of these student leaders toward greater collaboration. These were not evident in the past when more often than not, student organizations within and across the campuses were lacking in cooperation and unity. Student initiatives are now contributing to the school’s main thrust of “One School, One System” – a point of convergence of all CHMSC campuses. This is highly attributed to the student leaders’ common leadership orientation and training.
Because of this program, the quality of student-initiated activities significantly improved. Across all four campuses, there are new and synchronized initiatives for the first time, such as the CHMSCyanihan, (a portmanteau of CHMSC and bayanihan) a clean up drive at the start of the academic year, the integration of Greening CHMSC project, and a special tribute to campus maintenance staff among many others. Student leaders have become more creative and effective in events management. At present, they filed resolutions seeking to address concerns in academics, student services and student governance. Student leaders have also formulated the “One CHMSC Student Vision,” which developed mechanisms for stronger collaboration in support of institutional activities despite the physical distance of the campuses.