On Friday 24, September 2021, Association of Jesuit College and University has successfully held one of their activities in celebrating 500th anniversary of St. Ignatius’ “Cannonball” moment that is Round Table Discussion for students.
The Round Table Discussion for students is designed for the students from AJCU-AP member to voice their ideas, imaginations, efforts, and struggles that they have in moving forward to define their future. It is also an avenue for rectors, deans, and faculty members to listen to the students.
The activity was attended by fourteen different universities around Asia-Pacific. Each university sent one group student team as representative to deliver their ideas and struggling during the pandemic. They were given seven minutes to explain how they overcoming the pandemic and answering three main question that have been proposed by AJCU-AP committee.
The Round Table Discussion for Student was open with Ignatian Prayer led by Sumit Choemue from Thailand continued with opening message from AJCU-AP president, Johannes Eka Priyatma. The presentation was divided into two panel with 10 minutes’ break. The first panel was from Sophia University Japan, Ateneo De Manila Philippine, Ateneo de Cagayan Philippine, Fu Jen Catholic University Taiwan, Ricci Hall Hong Kong, Xavier Learning Community Thailand, and St. Aloysius Gonzaga Myanmar.
On the second panel, Sanata Dharma University was given opportunity to deliver their ideas first, continued by Instituto Sao Joao de Brito Timor Leste, Sogang University Korea, Elisabeth University of Music Japan, Ateneo de Davao Philipine, Ateneo de Zamboanga Philipines, and closed by Myanmar Leadership Institute Myanmar.
Sanata Dharma University student group represented by Michelle and Noel as panelists explained about university students’ life facing the pandemic and proposed ideas to overcome it. They close the presentation by giving a question and answer to discuss with other participants.
Through this activity, the students could share their stories during the pandemic and also encourage each other to survive in this difficult time. One of Student Round Table Participants from Sanata Dharma University, Yeremias Awear, explained that he found several interesting and inspiring things after he joined this program. Yeremias found something in common between one student with the other and also this program helps students to learn to build cohesiveness and respect to have a strong sense of brotherhood. Another participant from Sanata Dharma University, Angga, said that this program helps him improving his English ability.
In the last session of this activity, Angela Dominique who is the moderator from Ateneo de Davao University Philippine closed by giving conclusions and recommendations. Angela concluded that even the students facing the challenges during the pandemic such as lack of access to proper electronic devices and also faced off-screen in their learning process but they found ways to cope and even grow through personal development and meaningful connections. In line with this conclusion, Angela give several recommendations to all AJCU-AP University president forwarded from students’ presentations to meet the students’ needs as well as possible in this new era of learning. Angela proposed three recommendations, the first is aimed at lecturers to maximize visual resources and a variety of new applications to keep students engaged in virtual learning. The second is for AJCU AP universities to re-envision physical classrooms to be able to accommodate blended learning but it should be an environment that keeps learning conductive while keeping COVID-19 precautionary measures and also each university should formulate a system for students in need of access to proper internet and electronic devices, as well as assistance in digital literacy. Lastly, that all of us as student formators may consider bringing back some onsite or activities such as properly planned and well-regulated field excursions that enhance lectures that may continue to be delivered online.