It has been ninety years since the birth of our beloved alma mater. Ninety years ago, the university was then an agricultural college, taking different names like totems – Baybay National Agricultural School, Visayas Agricultural College, Visayas State College of Agriculture, Leyte State University – that embrace the changes that occurred before them.
Ninety years is a milestone and here we begin to notice the buildings that have grown old and were renovated, landscapes turned to skyscapes, idle and unkempt areas to tourist spots, or sentimental-valued places into ones that are valued by the income it generates. For one, the convention center which was once a mesh hall of students now boasts of the national conferences it has held over the years. The dingy and dusty cottages have been replaced and have become part of a wide beach resort. Staff homes have transformed to suites and inns, and lodges.
A flatland of crops that are either purposively planted or left to grow on their own is where the new VSU Library is being furnished. The accessibility of it is a relief in that there is no need to hike to do homework. Moreover, the concept of library has also changed. The card catalogue will become computerized and more of attuned to the times.
Several infrastructures are in the works: the new staff housing, and an Olympic-size swimming pool.
The famous DYAC AM radio station has shifted to an FM frequency, too, with a new name: DYDC.
There are also remarkable breakthroughs in our curricular programs. New courses such as Nursing, Civil, Geodetic and Geomatics, and Mechanical Engineering, Hotel, Restaurant, and Tourism Management, Biotechnology, Chemistry have been offered as four satellite campuses in Isabel, Alang-alang, Tolosa, and Villaba have been introduced into the university’s system. These are the proofs that we have really come this far from being an agricultural college that we were years ago. Not only that, we have outdone other schools not only in agriculture as once before, but including, now in the field of engineering.
Such are changes worth the counting of years, changes that are huge and conspicuous. The years seem to come and go so fast; we could get the whiplash if we are not watchful. And it is by being watchful that we notice the things that have remained steady amidst the swift run of the years.
Or perhaps, steady is the wrong word, for things have not remained the way they were; they either get better or get worse. For instance, in the changing times (and needless to say that the times always change), stipends for scholars have slowly become less valuable or useful. Laboratory facilities have, too, because they have become too old and worse. Anniversary celebrations now feels as just mandatory when they were once treats. What has happened? What has become of us? Have we reached the top so that there is no other way to go but down?
The 90th anniversary of VSU launches the countdown for the centennial year. This is the time when we see 100 years beckoning us. The time travel that we know is singular: the past to the future. And the future hopes to be always better than the past.
As it has been said, this is also the time that we should be more watchful. Today is an invitation for us, students, to be more creative, to help make the changes in this university more fitting to our educational needs, to be more assertive, and empowered.
To be watchful is to always think that there is always room for improvement. What else should be done or built to help you as individuals develop your potentials?
We have reached ninety years. For VSU that has reached as high time must refuse to peak. It always has to reach for the sky.