The UPLB College of Forestry and Natural Resources held its virtual 2021 New Freshmen Convocation in the afternoon of September 10, 2021.
Two hundred twenty-six freshmen from Batch 2021-2022 (129 from the BS Forestry (BSF), 84 in the Certificate in Forestry (CiF), and 13 transferees) were welcomed by the college constituents.
In his welcome message, Dean Marlo D. Mendoza congratulated the freshmen as they now belong to CFNR, being on its 111th year of existence. The College is recognized as the top-performing school in forestry board examinations and the sole ASEAN University Network – Quality Assurance (AUN-QA) certified school in the country. Dean Mendoza stressed the role of foresters in forest management, especially now that the forests are dwindling and deteriorating. He emphasized the importance of values and honor, excellence, and public service and to keep in mind that “education without honor is hollow and meaningless.” In the end, he encouraged the incoming freshmen to “keep their hearts and minds healthy.”
Distinguished guest speaker, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Assistant Secretary for Policy, Planning and Foreign Assisted and Special Projects as well as Director of the Forest Management Bureau (FMB) Director, Marcial C. Amaro, Jr. said that “Forestry is a noble profession and has wide a wide range of possible work areas.” He prods the freshmen to stay in the course and soon join the ranks of foresters in the field. To give them a better appreciation, ASEC Amaro gave a comprehensive discussion of the Philippine forestry landscape in terms of the forest cover, as well as the different laws and policies aimed at addressing forest degradation and promoting sustainable forest management. He also presented the challenges confronting the forestry sector such as climate change, environmental degradation, food and water insecurity, the need for biodiversity conservation, among others. In closing, he shared the quote of Baba Dioum, “In the end, we will conserve only what we love; we will love only what we understand, and we will understand only what we are taught.”
To give the new batch of students a feel of CFNR, a virtual tour using an audiovisual presentation was prepared. All Zoom attendees were given a walk-thru of the UPLB campus, now mostly devoid of human presence due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Dr. Analyn L. Codilan, Associate Dean & Coordinator for Instruction, gave a short presentation on remote learning in UPLB to guide the incoming batch of students. She discussed the remote delivery of courses for the 1st Semester, AY 2021-2022, where there is a shift from traditional teacher-dependent learning to guided-independent learning. She introduced the three learning module systems (LMS) used on campus: Canvas, Edmodo, and Moodle and said that independent learning is the key.
Dr. Rosalie C. Mendoza, College Secretary, introduced all the 226 freshmen via a short video, followed by a brief orientation about the UP academic policies and guidelines. This was followed by an audiovisual presentation of the 60 faculty members and their respective fields of expertise.
To help address the financial needs of the freshmen, Prof. Jickerson P. Lado, Assistant to the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and Director of the Office of Scholarships and Grants, presented the different scholarships and assistance programs such as the Grants-in-Aid Program, Kaagapay sa Pag-aaral Program, and the Learning Assistance for Remote Learning, as well as the various private and government scholarships (Adopt-a-Student Program and UPLB CARES). Students may also avail themselves of the Student Loan Board and Cash Loan Assistance Program to defray education-related expenses.
During the program, CFNR recognized the Top 10 BS Forestry UP College Admission qualifiers: Alyza Raine Tulio (1st), Althea Zyra Flores (2nd), Shaina Shane Camano (3rd), Ariane Lumbera (4th), Marianne Joy Cortez (5th), Jayson Valeroso (6th), Kristel Kaye Buo (7th), Japheth Neri (8th), Hannah Marie Espiritu (9th), and Remmus Roi Banzuela (10th).
As a response on behalf of the new batch of CFNR students, Ms. Cortez shared how her acceptance seemed like a dream. Despite the pandemic and virtual learning mode, they are ready and will bravely face the many challenges to become protectors and “frontliners” of Mother Nature. She added that despite the Covid-19 pandemic, they will continue the call for education for all and the opening of schools as “No student should be left behind because education is not a privilege, it is a right.” Ms. Cortez rallied her fellow batchmates to start serving the country and the environment, adding the challenge to prepare, “tayo ang magiging sandalan ng ating kalikasan sa oras na siya ay nangangailangan.”
In addition to the convocation program, selected BSF students from different older batches gave useful tips on how to survive the forestry education journey. Also, different CFNR student organizations prepared welcome video greetings for the freshmen.
The convocation ran for about 3 ½ hours, and each minute was thoughtfully crafted to ensure that all freshmen would feel the warmth and acceptance as they begin their college lives, virtually for now, with their CFNR family.
Maligayang Pagdating sa mga bagong Isko at Iska ng Kolehiyo ng Panggugubat at Likas Yaman!