Youth representatives from Saint Louis University share their insights on the 2023 ACUP National Conference held last February 23 to 25, 2023 at the Fr. Francis Gevers Hall. The said conference focused on mission and common journey which was highlighted during the simultaneous workshops on youth, teaching, community development, and research.
Youth Representation as An Empowering Feat
by Franz Willard L. Domogen, Youth representative, Saint Louis University
Youth presence in ACUP was an empowering feat. At that conference, I witnessed a community that is not exclusive, but rather, open in the spirit of synodality as a critical yet reverent body. Youth representation revealed the creative minds of this generation in projects and policymaking. Their zeal to participate in the community is poignantly inspired by their personal motivations, circumstances, and the opportunities afforded by their respective institutions.
A striking takeaway is: “Synodality is immersion,” a daily experience that requires one to listen and understand first before pursuing action. It is tied to the responsibility to uplift society with the purpose of “no one is left behind.” This speaks progressive interpretations at an age and time that is not new to academic institutions, much so to Christ-centered universities. Hence, it is encouraged for institutions to draw from their own core values and value formation processes in pursuing lasting agendas. All institutional values are rooted in the God-given mission that has been passed on to the world. Indeed, our churches vis-à-vis universities grow in community with the community.
As the youth, we return inspired by new learnings and the best practices of each participating institution worth emulating. Each session was rationalized through case studies, research, engagements, and humble exchanges. We hope to adopt these and then tailor them to ways that would substantially benefit our own school communities and those beyond.
As a Louisian, I see synodality in our school community. We are open yet sensitive to the body of stakeholders that we revolve with regardless of our differences. We value dialogue embedded in our educational instruction and outside the corners of our study. We are living examples of brotherhood and kindness, and are testimonies of morality. In addition, we do not run out of creativity but instead are fueled by the energy, confidence, and passion to participate as fun-loving, mindful Christian citizens. For me, the best part is community extension, which has always been the shared heart and purpose at Saint Louis University.
Synodality for Community Transformation
by Noel Alfredo G. Tizon VI, Youth representative, Saint Louis University
As one of the university delegates and as a law student, it is my great honor to be part of this year’s Association of Catholic Universities of the Philippines (ACUP) National Conference 2023. I have learned many things as we dwelt on synodality where we take part in journeying together as the people of God. This conference taught me how much Catholic universities that have a different and unique approach to education mold their students to take part in the mission as they give service inside and outside of their campuses.
This event made me realize how important it is that God gave us a mission to be transformed into a person whose purpose is to rekindle one another with compassion and generosity. More so, as a student of law, one statement that had me struck the most is the quote from Pope Francis, “A good Catholic meddles with politics…” Talking about justice and peace, this quote deserves action as we fight injustices. The event highlights the need to strengthen fairness and equality among our leaders.
Synodality transcends if we put our hearts and actions into transforming our community into a better society full of hope, compassion, and just.