The Faces Behind The “Voice”
by the UMSigaw Officers
Originally printed at Filipino Journal, October 21 – November 05, 2009, Volume 23, Number 20
UMSigaw Executive Officers ‘09-’10 (L-R): Roley Leyson, Czarina Damian, Linger Aragon, Agnus-Mariae Lucas, Grace General, Patrick Valderama, Lemarie Tubog (on floor)
Linger Ann Aragon – President
It has only been a year since my first encounters with UMSigaw. A friend had invited me to their first General Assembly back in the Fall of 2008. I walked into a room full of young, aspirant Filipino students like myself, and for the first time in a long time, I felt that I fit in. I am a first year student in the Faculty of Human Ecology, aiming to major in the Health Studies program and minor in Management. I was not expecting to gain anything from this group when I joined. Little did I know, that it would do the exact opposite. UMSigaw has given me a second chance to stay in touch with my culture, a dominant part of who I am. I have made many friends and have learned to start speaking Tagalog again. As President, it is my perpetual hope to connect with the Filipino Youth in our community. I believe that we are all capable of anything and in order for one to see this, they must be encouraged. Success can be measured in ways more than one, and as much as I would like to see the fruits of our labour bloom during our banquet, I would feel just as fulfilled knowing that our group has made a difference, even if it may be to just one student. I have been raised to believe in the importance of education, and it is with honour that I represent a group with the same belief. UMSigaw may be a group of many faces, but WE ARE ONE with our voice. We will use it to the best of our abilities and we hope that we reach our goals, with the help and support from the Filipino community.
Agnus-Mariae Lucas – Vice President
Hello, I am the vice-president of UMSigaw for the ‘09-’10 school year. It is my 4th year in the Faculty of Science, Department of Microbiology. During the winter term of my first year of university, my friends mentioned to me that there was a Filipino student group recruiting for members. I attended the first meeting and immediately got involved, because as for me, once I take part in something, I do it whole-heartedly. When they were looking for someone who head the sponsorship committee for the Halo-Halo concert, I volunteered for the role, thinking that the position might be left vacant if no one stepped up to the initiative. For this year, I would very much like to see our pilot projects of a book lending/selling system and peer tutorial program take flight. Most importantly, I would truly like to see our vision for a bursary banquet held in July come through and I am willing to give all my residual energy from my academics to have it done. Being part of UMSigaw, as an executive or even a regular member, is very rewarding to me in the way that it makes me feel that I’m part of a bigger plan, and that my contributions, in collaboration with the efforts of others, make result to a beneficial success. I am serving my community and am getting in touch with my heritage, giving back to the country that I have left behind. I hope to open opportunities to other Filipino youth and inspire them to be the best that they can be.
Czarina Leil Damian – Secretary
Good day! Being a part of a dynamic group of students, who actively give back to our community, certainly is an opportunity and I am honoured to be UMSigaw’s secretary for the school year 2009-10. The academia has more facets than what we are used to think of. It is more than just studying, reading books or preparing for an exam. Being a university student means being a part of a larger body than just merely a single individual. It entails a significant amount of responsibility that moulds and prepares you for a challenging life ahead. I can still remember vividly the day that I entered a new stage in my journey. I was a freshman – full of dreams and aspirations, but soon realized that it would take more than just me to get ahead and become the person that I want to be. I needed help! I needed friends, who will be an extension of my family. People to converse with when you go through a cognitive short-circuit or mental saturation to help you keep sane. It wasn’t too long before I was introduced to UMSigaw by a friend and the rest, as they say, is history. Currently, I am on my 2nd year in the Faculty of Science and it has been the best 2 years of my life.
Mary Grace General – Assistant Secretary
Hi! I am a 2nd year student in the Faculty of Science. This year is very special for me as I, once again, will be representing UMSigaw as the group’s assistant secretary. An important part of my university experience is being given the opportunity to express my individuality through one of my passions, photography. As a freshman, I volunteered to be a photographer in UMSigaw’s Halo-Halo concert and through this event, I met a lot of very special friends who until today remains very dear to me. Life isn’t always easy as a student, but sacrifices often do become meaningful when it is devoted to a worthy cause.
Lemarie Tubog – Treasurer
Hi, call me Lem. I’m a fourth year student at the UofM. I have been a member of UMSigaw ever since 2006. This is my second term as treasurer and ever since, it has been both rewarding and challenging. It is a challenge to be appointed a very important role in the group and juggle it with academics. I learned and am still learning a lot about time management. It is rewarding because of the fulfillment that it renders knowing that I am one of the faces behind the voice.
Patrick Valderama – Auditor
I’m Patrick Valderama, a 4th year student doing a double degree on Plant Biotechnology and Economics at the University of Manitoba. For more than 3 years, being a member of the Filipino student group called UMSIGAW at the University of Manitoba provided great experiences like no other. Through this organization I met many interesting people and together we experienced fun, excitement and enthusiasm on helping fellow Filipino students to make unversity life a wonderful experience. University is not just about learning things through books and other academic materials; experiencing on how to be involved is one way to become a successful university student. As one of the officers of this student group I want to do in the best of my capacity to serve the community and promote the importance of post secondary education among fellow Filipinos.
Roley John Roselo Leyson – Public Relations Officer
Hello everyone! I’m Roley Leyson, UMSigaw’s Public Relations Officer. As a public relationship officer, it’s my job to ensure that there is some sort of connection with the group to people in the university. As the acronym suggests, I’m also responsible for promoting the “PRO”activeness of the group! With creativity, teamwork, and an overall optimism that laughs in the eyes of adversity, I believe we can do anything! I am currently in my fourth year of university; I graduated from the Faculty of Science and am now continuing my studies in the Faculty of Education for the next two years. In terms of my involvement with UMSigaw, I actually joined because a few of my friends were in it. Little did I know that my friends were to eventually become President and Vice-President, ultimately putting me in a position where I could be nominated for the role I now hold. When I look at UMSigaw, I really hope that we can create a group that will look to help those in our community reach their potential and provide avenues for anyone, whether they are Filipino or not, to help and contribute to various causes. University life is so complex, busy, and dynamic. I certainly believe that university life is more than academics. Hopefully, as a group, we can show our members, and any student for that matter, that it’s important to share the talents and time we have to do great things. If you are wondering what benefits one might have in being part of the group, all I can say is it makes you more aware about what university life is all about and introduces you to some very interesting people. With chances to speak on the radio, participate in fund raising opportunities, or to have a say in what you would like to have done in the university, UMSigaw will definitely make your time in university a memorable one!