Ana Patricia “Patreng” Non joined UPLB in welcoming this year’s new freshies as guest speaker in the online 2021 Opening Convocation that premiered on Sept. 10.
Patreng became known all over the country after setting up a community pantry on Maginhawa St. in Quezon City with the use of a bamboo cart on which she regularly left food items for people who needed these during the lockdowns that were implemented because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Soon other people delivered their donations of food to the community pantry, sometimes leaving more than it could provide to the increasing number of people who lined up to get their share of the food items.
The “community pantry” with its slogan “magbigay ayon sa kakayahan, kumuha batay sa pangangailangan” roughly translated as “give what you can; take what you need” ultimately sparked a wave of kindness and caused over a thousand such community pantries to sprout all over the country.
In her message, Patreng congratulated UPLB Batch 2021 for having been admitted into UP amidst difficult times.
She said that she is as excited about their journey, drawing from her experience of having been able to create the support structure she now has through her stay as a student in UP Diliman where she graduated with the degree of Bachelor in Fine Arts with specialization in visual communication.
Patreng also told the freshies of how they will be able to meet passionate teachers who like to monitor and strive to mentor students in their learning journey.
She enjoined the students to be understanding, kind, and friendly to their teachers who are also having a hard time teaching during the pandemic.
She said that each and everyone in UP, from the office workers and staff, to the vendors, jeepney drivers and photocopying shop workers contribute to their studies and make up the community that is the university.
Patreng encouraged them to open themselves up to interacting with the UP community and experience being members of organizations or be involved in sports as soon as face-to-face classes resume, adding that this is what molds UP students and gives them a holistic UP education.
On studies, she admonished them to be realistic, to celebrate successes as well as to be ready for failures and disappointments.
She also gave advice to the students to not be ashamed to seek help from their teachers and friends and trust that there are always people who can understand and help.
On surviving life in UP, she said that the secret is to always come from a place of help and to always think that even if you have little, you can be helpful.
She told her online audience that one can never really know that the little help one is able to give is what the person being helped really needs at that time.
In closing, she enjoined the students, “mangarap para sa sarili pero huwag din natin kalimutan na mangarap para sa bayan kasi wala naman talagang tunay na pag-unlad kung tayo lang ang nag-iimprove.”
(Nurture dreams for yourselves but do not forget to also dream for the country because genuine development does not happen when it’s only us who improve.)
UPLB admitted 2,684 new freshmen this first semester. On behalf of her batchmates , Allyson Joyce Umali, a BS Civil Engineering student, spoke about the difficulty of studying and learning amidst the pandemic, the struggles of a people whose rights were taken away from them and the hardships and suffering that they endure.
In the midst of all these, she said that students gave hope when they involved themselves in the community pantries and in giving enlightenment about the country’s situation.
According to Umali, this made her see what UP is – a prestigious learning institution that molds and teaches its students to be guided by the core values of honor and excellence not only academically but also in how they interact, and through their work.
“Marami tayong matututunan sa ating mga libro at modules pero huwag nating kalilimutan na marami din tayong matututunan at mapagtatanto sa pamamagitan lamang ng pakikiisa at pakikipag-ugnayan natin sa kapwa nating Pilipino.”
(We learn much from our books and modules but let us not forget that we also learn and realize much through unity and solidarity with our fellow Filipinos.)
Like Patreng, Umali enjoined her batchmates to, amidst the uncertainties and difficulties, help each other so that together they will be shaped and molded by their experiences in working for progress and development and in the struggle for the country.
Chancellor Jose V. Camacho, Jr. led the University officials in welcoming the new freshies in the online program that had for its theme “Ugnayan: Ugali’t Gawa’y Nahuhubog at Yumayabong para sa Bayan.”
According to Chancellor Camacho, “kasama din naming huhubugin at pagyayabungin ang inyong ugali at gawa para sa ikabubuti ng ating bansang Pilipinas at kapwa Pilipino. Kaya di lamang kayo Iskolar ng Bayan, kayo rin ay Iskolar para sa Bayan.”
(We will mold and nurture you in character and deeds for the good of our country and for our fellow Filipino. You will not only be scholars of the nation, but also scholars for the nation.)
Vice Chancellor Janet Malata-Silva, University Council Chair Siegfred Severino, and Assistant to the Vice Chancellor Jickerson Lado also gave messages to the freshies.
The program may be viewed at UPLBOfficial Youtube account.