by Irwin Angelo M. Amago, Eljohn C. Yee, Kenneth Isaiah I. Abante
The Ateneo experience will not be complete without being active in an organization. This is because Ateneo org life is a very diverse and enriching experience where Ateneans are given a myriad of opportunities to lead in their fields of interest, train in specific skills, and more importantly, meet life-long friends and build long-lasting relationships rooted in service. In the experience of many active org members, the org life and the family they have established with them have given them something much more meaningful to live for.
The Ateneo grounds itself on holistic formation – growth that encapsulates all facets of a person. The Ateneo embodies this competency in its organizations as they create a wide array of avenues for Ateneans to engage in personal and professional enrichment, spiritual formation, leadership formation, creative development, intercultural relations, science and technology, corporate networking and social involvement. Whether it be aiding communities in medical missions, prayer sessions with faith formation organizations, representing the university in national and international business, debate or performance competitions, serving sectors, or even simple snack-outs and community bonding activities, Ateneo organizations have really proven themselves capable of forming men and women for others, in the Ignatian tradition of service and excellence.
But amidst all these achievements, in organizations Ateneans develop a passion to serve, that goes beyond any line a resume can reflect, to give not because, but to give simply, and give more for and with others -- a very special and humbling experience for many Ateneans.
It is also a widely accepted fact that academic formation is meaningless without corresponding practical and extra-curricular development. This role of organizations is so critical to the formation that Ateneo gives its students that Associate Dean for Student Affairs Mr. Rene San Andres has dubbed it the "Laboratory of Life." This is also the reason why most employers favor students with excellent organizational involvement and defined leadership positions in their college organizations. Countless Atenean leaders in business, media, government, art, literature, performing arts, development, religious sects, science and technology are all testaments to this unique formation brought by Ateneo organizations.
Each of the 49 accredited student organizations has a particular field, sector, skill or core competency that it seeks to address and improve -- all in the spirit of service and the goal of social relevance. The diversity of cultures, of people, of passions and the dynamism of this life is an excellent adventure free for every Atenean to explore.
The Council of Organizations of the Ateneo, as the confederation of the 49 accredited organizations of the Ateneo grouped into 9 niche-based clusters, helps protect that diversity and the general welfare of the organizations. Through its Central Board, Executive Board, Executive and Cluster Teams, it gives formation programs that build the skills of the Executive Board members of the organizations; help in administering the organizations through policies, information dissemination systems; organize projects such as the Recruitment Week; and represent the organizations as liaison officers to offices and external groups and as official delegates in different Loyola Schools-wide, country-wide and even international events.
For many, organization life is easily the greatest gift an Atenean can ever have. Thousands of memories and lifelong friends make college a tad easier to handle and much more colorful. But org life is not just about enjoying oneself, through it one comes to understand his place in the world and his capacity to help others through whatever passion or interest, through whatever means. For all this and more, it is no wonder that Ateneo is considered to offer one of the best, if not the best organization life in the country.