An amalgamation of the various ideas and innovations of SLU’s past events up to now has inspired the innovative minds of the School of Teacher Education and Liberal Arts (STELA) to bring forth Mr. and Ms. STELA-Earth as a way to bring one important issue to light: our own ignorance of garbage disposal.

In an interview with STELLARIS the organizers of this event, Noel Fermin, Henry Sergio and Jerlyn Lamsis, share their insights and experiences regarding this major responsibility of theirs.

According to Ms. Lamsis, the president of “Grey Matter”, the reason behind this event was that students need to see past the traditional “weird and nerdy” stereotype of science majors and realize that everyone is responsible for using their knowledge to inform others about our present situation. She and the other members of “Grey Matter” previously held a similar event prior to the merging of the Schools of Teacher Education (STE) and Humanities (SOH): Mr. and Ms. Kalikasan, a one-time event exclusive to STE held in partnership with its respective KASAMA SSC student body.

What was the inspiration behind the theme, “Climate and Environmental Literacy”? It was adopted in accordance with the theme of this year’s upcoming Earth Day celebration, set on April 22. According to Mr. Sergio, one of the previous organizers of the Mr. and Ms. Kalikasan event, it was adopted for students to be educated and know more about the environment. “It’s not just because we are science majors. We also need to influence others, because we will all be affected. Knowledge shouldn’t be limited to one person.”

So, if the organizers themselves were candidates asked for their own individual perspectives on the theme, what would they answer?

According to present STELA’s KASAMA-SSC’ Governor, Mr. Noel Fermin, “We are having a problem right now. A problem with pieces of trash carelessly left inside the classrooms and the need to remind ourselves about climate change.”

Mr. Sergio stated, meanwhile, “The use of social media is a means to continuously educate people and stimulate realization, beginning from you then eventually spreading to others.”

Finally, Ms. Lamsis answered, “Even the simple act of throwing thrash boggles our students, especially segregation”. She also implied that the trash cans are being placed too far away as well as also too old to be attractive and stimulate students to throw their garbage properly.

They also explained how the placement and looks of the garbage bins affect the interest of students in throwing their garbage properly.

“This is not just a pageant that wills you to just shout for your candidates, for kung sino gusto mo, pero we can actually help to develop the awareness of each student” – Noel Fermin

According to Mr. Fermin, what made them push through with the event was that it could be used as an eye opener for the students. For their awareness to create a chain reaction that will be carried all throughout.

In the eyes of Mr. Sergio, it entails more responsibility because Grey Matter is the environmental organization of STELA. Not only that, his main vision for the concept of the event also improved his organization’s capacity to understand more and know more about environmental awareness.

Lastly, according to Ms. Lamsis, she compared it with the previous event because for her, Mr. and Ms. Kalikasan didn’t have a strong effect to the students. She also aimed for the winners to have continuous action for change around the school.

The main vision is for each student to have the initiative to clean, even if it is not their own trash, and not to fault the lack of trash bins. It is also to stimulate a conducive opportunity for the students to learn.

When asked if the event will have a positive impact on the students, they all had the same idea that it will indeed do. “The initiative and desire for learning, as well as the faith in each student to clean their surroundings is always a main purpose. We are still responsible to clean even just a little, even if it’s not ours”.

According to them, the event will change the perspective of STELA’s students. But, it needs to start with them as organizers. To not just have a project for the sake of having a project, but evolving to become figures that can inspire others to follow through with what they have started. To build up their curiosity on the event and what they can do to enable change, and realize the current happenings around us. As espoused by Ms. Lamsis, “We need to stand up as STELA, to break down a wall that divides both schools”.

“Kung campaign natin to pangatawanan natin to” – Henry Sergio

When asked if they will see STELA united after the event, they unanimously said that it is the second goal while raising awareness being the first. “It shouldn’t be a completion but as a way to showcasing what you can do”.

“Feeling ko nawala na ang gap between the former students of TE and former students of SOH” – Noel Fermin

The question of what made them take the job was answered as “being for them to cultivate the students because we need it more as future teachers, future lawyers, or any other occupation from STELA”. According to Mr. Sergio, he said that there should be a Mr. and Ms. Kalikasan because it is in line with the goal of Grey Matter to raise awareness.

“It is a continuous process, parang since involved nako dun dapat ko na din ituloy kasi once an Eco Warrior, always an Eco Warrior” – Henry Sergio

When asked about success of the event, they said that for now they can’t predict it; but, it is a stepping stone to change the perspective of everyone. It is a learning process that will make way for us to be better, to strive for a better knowledge. According to Ms. Lamsis the trash bins are indicative of the improvement or the success of the event: if it changes our behavior as students and in our way to dispose of our trash.

“To measure the success of the event is the support of STELA” – Henry Sergio

For them experience the organizing the event was mind opening because they also needed to improve themselves, their knowledge and understanding. They said it was also hard, and that there was also a time when they wanted to give up, to throw the papers, or to even burn it because of the CHED memorandum and that it was compared to going through the eye of a needle.

This is also a message for us to open up, to be more open minded with the issue. For our own betterment, we should never stop fighting for our environment. Challenges may come our way and failures and disappointments will also be there but we should never give up. Again for STELA and the organizers of the event, ARANGKADA, STELA!


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