Have you ever wondered why the Earth is associated with a mother? The mother has the womb which symbolizes life. It is where the first seed of human life has emanated. It is our first source of nurturance and vitality. The very first elements that we need to survive came from this womb, resembling the earth being our cradle in harboring our life. We have thrived from this planet, since the dawn of humanity. Until then, gradually we have learned to annihilate this womb that we are currently indebted to. This upheaval needs to be addressed. Earth has invested in us and we need to return this investment hundred fold.
Wendell Berry once said, “Nature is not a gift from our ancestors but a loan to our children.” Quoting her, Mrs. Majal Rani O. Espiritu embarked on her commencement speech during the pageant of Mr. and Ms. STELA Earth 2017, stating that “Sustainability is our responsibility”. A gift is something that we spend, not being mindful of its future outcome, while a loan is an investment, we need to mindful of. Nature per se is an investment that we need to sustain or replenish. We are all responsible for investing in it and sustaining life from it. She emphasized that the youth is hope in sustaining the environment because of the mere qualities, the youth is capable of. Basing from research studies, she mentioned that the youth are team-oriented, prone to self-entitlement, have confidence and are highly optimistic, can work under pressure, are conventional and have the strong desire to achieve. Though they have these essential qualities to be a probable agent or a catalyst in advocating environmental sustainability, there is one thing that sets the youth back, “they are least likely to take action and has the absence of concern”, she said. Moreover, she emphasized the 3 roles of students on environmental conservation, “the youth must not decline. Students need to educate their parents, influence….and modify their lifestyle.”
In an interview with STELLARIS some of the winners of Mr. and Ms. STELA with the presence of Mr. Jeremy Rimando, The Kasama-SSC President, and the organizers: Mr. Henry Sergio and Ms. Jerlyn Lamsis, came and answered a few questions after their victory. From their own perspective, from their own experience, and from their own capabilities they are here to share what they will do to promote a greener and better future. From Mr. STELA-Earth: Mr. Mark Jheroben Buada, Ms. STELA-Water: Ms. Jury Ann De Leon along with her partner Mr. STELA-Water: Mr. Prudencio Ruiz Agacita, and lastly Mr. STELA-Air: Mr. Jeck Galito.
The first question was given to all of the participants who attended and the question was: Regarding your victory, how do you intend to influence others?
Ms. De Leon said that they will use their victory and themselves as instruments to promote the environment and at the same time be a role model as well as use their knowledge to share and to make the public more informed because for her it all starts with education. Mr. Buada said that as the MCS candidates, change must start with us because for them what matters is not if the change you do is big or small but rather the initiative to move, to make, and to give the world its desired look. Mr. Galito said that they should be a model to all and make use of unity and cooperation for their actions to matter and to have change. Lastly, Mr. Agacita said that they should not only appear through words but also through their actions because for him they deserve the win and that they can show that they deserve the win.
“Action speaks louder than words” – Mr. Prudencio Ruiz Agacita, Mr. STELA-Water
“I prefer to act than to say things” – Ms. Jury Ann De Leon, Ms. STELA-Water
The second question was given to all once again, followed up with the question: You say that you want to educate others but how do you intend to implement the actions to educate people?
Mr. Agacita said that they were trusted by their peers and orgs with the responsibility and that they have the capacity to lead. He also added that everything should not be tolerated, that if someone threw trash you should educate the person to pick up the trash and throw it properly. Ms. De Leon said that there is a stigma when you scold a person because he/she did not throw his/her trash properly it makes you even the evil in their eyes even if your intention was good. Mr. Galito said that we should unite but he also asked the question “Bakit hindi natin simulan ngayon sa mga silid aralan?” For him we should start the change inside the classroom and that we should start small for it to reverberate through the community. Lastly Mr. Buada added the three roles of Mass Media which is to Inform, Entertain, and Educate. For him this plays an integral role for everyone to be educated, for example the use of infographics to inform other students of the duties for the environment.
The third question was: As a part of the Top 4, how does or did it feel when you won?
Mr. Galito said that for him he was genuinely shocked because he didn’t expect to compete and even more to win the pageant, he added that he wants to make a change to make a better environment not just to the campus but to the entire country or even the world. Mr. Buada said that it felt very emotional because for him he was always trying to find his purpose and for him it was answered when he won the pageant. For Ms. De Leon she felt overwhelmed and she felt that it was a big responsibility because she felt that she has to do something to interact and to perform with the responsibility given to her. Lastly Mr. Agacita said that for him the experience felt like night and day because he was almost about to back out from the competition because as for him there were previous dilemmas caused by his surroundings.
The fourth question was asked as a simple Yes or No question and the question was: Did your advocacy change because of your victory?
Ms. De Leon answered with an emphatic no because for her it was improved and strengthened because of the win, Mr. Buada answered Yes but he also added that it was made even bigger, Mr. Galito answered yes and that it was more rooted than it was before, and Lastly Mr. Agacita answered no but in the context that he still wants to add something because for him involvement it a way to strengthen all of their advocacies.
The fifth question was asked specifically to the candidates of LLSS and the winners of the titles of Mr. and Ms. Water: Mr. Prudencio Ruiz Agacita and Ms. Jury Ann De Leon and the question were: How can you improve the current situation as part of the Top 4 of Mr. and Ms. STELA Earth?
Ms. De Leon answered that as a member of the Louisian Legal Studies they have a good grasp on laws that are implemented across Philippines, we say that our laws are great and that are laws are complete but for her proper implementation is the part that is lacking. Mr. Agacita said that in a school setting with the passing of generations, we have the capability to make new mean to achieve a better goal and that goal is to achieve a better STELA. He added that we will do our best to make activities and to have the initiative because of the knowledge of laws, to also have forums for the environment regarding to environmental law.
The sixth question was asked specifically to Mr. Mark Jheroben Buada from MCS and the winner of the title Mr. STELA-Earth. The question for Mr. Buada was: How do you intend to implement the advocacy you fought for during the pageant?
Mr. Buada answered that their advocacy is that change must start within us but for him if you’re the only one working it isn’t enough but instead it should be done as a one big family. He suggested the use of communication and the talks with bigger organizations like Grey Matter and Kasama-SSC because in that way our voice becomes louder; a ripple effect that starts from one person that will echo through the entire university and to be done as a one big Louisian Family.
The seventh question was asked specifically to Mr. Jheck Galito from Diwa ng Kabataan and the winner of the title Mr. STELA Air. The question was: As the model of the students of STELA, How can you motivate the students to be more careful towards the environment?
Mr. Galito answered that for him he will use his voice for meaningful things, in terms with that change must start in with him and with the people around him to teach what is good, to use his voice to influence others not just himself but to every student in SLU. He added that he would also explain to them that students should not be embarrassed but instead it’s fun and joy given to them as a chance to make something better.
The eighth and final question was asked to everyone and the question is: As the Eco Warriors of STELA and as the Top 4 of the Pageant, What are your last words to empower our fellow students to save the environment?
“Para maging isang mabuting lider ay dimo kailangan ng plquea o sash o kahit anong karangalan para iyong masaabi na ikaw ay isang mabuting lider at naka gawa ka ng tama ang kailangan mo lang dito ay pagkakaisa. Pagkakaisa para sa pangkabutihang minimithi natin” – Mr. Jheck Galito, Mr. STELA-Air
“If you want to have change, you have to start with yourself” – Ms. Jury Ann De Leon, Ms. STELA-Water
“If you’re educated we are empowered, that is why we are here the Eco Warriors to educate and to empower STELA” – Mr. Mark Jheroben Buada, Mr. STELA-Earth
“The problem to the environment waits for no one, The Earth can stand without humans, We should protect our environment kasi iisa lang yan” – Mr. Prudencio Ruiz Agacita, Mr. STELA-Water
As a stepping stone for a new semester, for a new and improved STELA we should follow and make our own actions to have a better influence to our environment; a noble cause for a better STELA, for a more conductive place for learning not just to our generation but also to the next generations to come. Once again let’s have it for Grey Matter, Kasama-SSC, and the Winners of Mr. and Ms. STELA Earth! For a cleaner and better STELA! ARANGKADA STELA!