by Ivan Jules S. Capin

Ateneo de Davao University’s (AdDU) environmental battle cry is the title of Pope Francis’ latest encyclical letter, “Laudato Si”. It is noteworthy and praising for AdDU to do such. There is no doubt it carries so much meaning for care and conservation of our environment. Recalling last semester’s university wide Pagkihinabi session on the Pope Francis’ encyclical, it can be also noticed that it has seeped into the ethical and moral mindset of Ateneans, if one observes carefully.

You can hear a friend calling another friend who threw his garbage at the wrong bin and telling him, “Unsa man na, bai? Nalimtan nimo imong Laudato Si? (What are you doing, dude? Have you forgotten your Laudato Si?)” Or upon leaving the local 7-11 store, a student throws trash that was barely thrown into the bin and mumbles to herself, “Nagtuon ba ni sila’g Laudato Si? (Did they even learn about Laudato Si?) The same can also be said in to those students who lobbied in maintaining Davao City’s 10 percent green spaces.

However, it seems such has escaped the mindset of some of Ateneo’s 1st Year students. Recently, the university’s Physical Education (PE) Department concluded its semestral PE Night. Most of those in the higher years were surprised, shocked, and angered. Pictures taken by SAMAHAN’s volunteers clearly showed a far cry of what Laudato Si was trying to teach and imbue Ateneo’s students.

The faculty and the school administration could not also be spared of the same surprise, shock, and anger. Many have taken their calls to social media, students, faculty, and administration alike. There is no doubt that this issue has exploded into large proportions. Yet, to recognize the gravity of this issue is not found in mere accusations.

Nor will it be found in pointing fingers and throwing our allegations on who did what and what was made by who. Such is futile from the first place. Instead, it can be seen as an eye opener to the university community. It demands that we ask ourselves, “Where did we go wrong?”, “How can we correct that wrong?”, and “What steps can we take to prevent that wrong from happening again?”

These three simple questions do not need rocket science nor the most complex of management and educational theories. It is high time to ask ourselves these. Moreover, we also have to recognize that issues like this are also times where our socially constructed university identities of “Griffins”, “Tigers”, “4th Year”, “graduating batch”, etc. are broken down and replaced with one identity we call, “Ateneans”.

However, this Atenean identity is being tested given this issue at hand. Succeed in this test, and then we have the worth of proudly telling people “Oo, gikan ko ug nag-skwela ko’g Ateneo. (Yes, I am from and I have studied in Ateneo.)” as if the Ateneo’s knights were in a hill with their blue and white banners waving in the wind behind us.

Fail in it, then we may have technically lost that right to say so.


 Photo courtesy of Ludwig Paragili