With over 500 delegates hailing from different universities and colleges nationwide, Visayas State University (VSU) participated in the recently concluded 45th edition of the Youth Men's Christian Association (YMCA) National Congress of College Students by sending three student leaders from various course organizations within VSU, held last November 30 to December 3 at the Senior Mess, Teacher's Camp, Baguio City.


Forestry junior Whyz Calimbayan from the VSU Forestry Student Society (FSS), Education sophomore Ana Labador from the League of Exemplary English Students (LExES), and Philosophy sophomore Charles Nico Balanga from Truth Seekers Society (TSS) represented the university in the four-day event to enhance their leadership skills in accordance to the vision and mission of the host organization. 


With the theme "Bayan1han: Young People of Today, Champions of Change!”, the congress "aimed to expand the horizons of student leaders through educative campaigns regarding Climate Justice, Media and Information Literacy, and Intercultural Representation", as said by Calimbayan. 


Further, the event also served as a networking ground for the students to interact with other representatives to have opportunities to build connections and camaraderie that may be beneficial to their organizations.


“[It] served as a ground for me to express my triumphs and hardships as a student leader. Unexpectedly, I was interviewed by the students from the National Teachers College, interrogating me the same query. It was my first Leadership Congress as a College Student, and I am just impressed by how [the other] student leaders uniquely handle heavy situations with a silver lining," said Calimbayan. 


LExES rep, Labador, also shared her thoughts, noting how she realized the importance of having the initiative to lead, even at an early age


 "Apart from that, the leadership camp made me understand the importance of transcending boundaries by allowing me to socialize with different students coming from [all over the Philippines]. I was able to know how to acknowledge the unique differences of people which I value as an education student," Labrador said.


According to Calimbayan, the seminar-workshop not only allowed the students to learn from the presented topics but they were also allowed to freely express their insights and highly encouraged them to advance their causes. 

"The Congress was not just [an] educative experience, it also served as a platform [for the student leaders] to share the visions and missions of their respective organizations, along with their empowering advocacies.", he said.

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