by M. Bayaua

The College of Liberal Arts, Sciences, and Education (CLASE) of the University of San Agustin celebrates U-Week with significant wins in 2024.

CLASE marked its first major victory by clinching the championship round of the 2024 Augustinian Debate Cup on March 1, 2024.

Hosted at the USA auditorium and titled the St. Augustine’s Cup Interdepartmental Debate Series 2024, the cup brought together the two colleges that won the previous elimination rounds: CLASE and the College of Commerce, to showcase their talents in argumentation and public speaking across several rounds. In the championship round, CLASE triumphed over the College of Commerce.

Prior to this, CLASE had emerged victorious against the USA Junior High students in the elimination round, debating whether “a set of standardized qualifications for the Department of Education Secretaries in the Philippines” should be mandatory. CLASE defended the negative stance. For this year’s championship round, the proposition was “that the government turns former president Rodrigo Duterte over to the International Criminal Court,” with CLASE arguing against and COC supporting the motion.

The St. Augustine’s Debate Cup, spearheaded by the Social Sciences Unit of CLASE in collaboration with the US Student Government, is an annual competition. It originated in 1995 as a departmental inter-college activity initiated by the Political Science Club, later integrated into the annual USA University Day festivities.

Dr. Nora Legaspi, a pioneer of USA Augustinian debate, served as the inspirational speaker, reflecting on the early days of the debate cup and the students who left a mark during her tenure, and who had gone on to achieve successful careers. Miss Mona Pico, herself a former USA debater, USA faculty member and who has served in various offices in the university, served as the debate’s moderator, and introduced Dr. Legaspi.

Elsewhere, CLASE secured the first runner-up position in U-Week’s recently concluded Cine Agustino. CLASE’s entry, “Okay ka Lang? Ukon Ikaw ang Pinakamagulang,” garnered accolades, with its director, AB Communication student Jhenny Anne Mirador, winning the Best Director award, and the film itself receiving recognition for Best Screenplay.

Furthermore, CLASE organized a talk on public governance and human rights.

The AB Communication program hosted a session titled “Empowering Alumni: Transforming Communities” as part of CLASE’s year-long Alumni Talks initiative. Ms. Joy Clarisse Briones, one of AB Comm’s successful graduates, currently serving as a Sangguniang Bayan Member of the municipality of Ibajay, delved into various aspects of public governance’s role in community transformation and how USA students and alumni can contribute. She emphasized lifelong learning to facilitate community welfare, as part of CLASE’s activities marking the university’s 120th foundation anniversary.

Meanwhile, the Social Sciences Unit, in collaboration with the Political Science and Foreign Services Programs, held a talk on human rights. Titled “Promoting Human Rights of Augustinian Students,” the session provided insights into human rights applicable to Augustinian students. Atty. Jonnie Dabuco, Regional Director of the Commission of Human Rights Region 6, offered an overview of human rights, its origins, nature, types, and legal foundations. Atty. Jordana Mari Jaco, a senior associate at Etrii Law, discussed the role of higher learning institutions in promoting students’ human rights. The talk took place on February 21, 2024, at the Bar Review Room of the USA College of Law.