Square Tactics. Reinventing Alumni Websites Everywhere

MANILA: This is the newest and most radical look of any University of the Philippines (UP) Alumni Website, or for that matter, any Alumni Website anywhere in the world. Click this link now if you want to look at the real thing: UPLB Jubilarians 2013blogspot.com).

Here, you're looking at my screen capture of the UP Los Baños alumni website, and it wasn't like this when I created that blog on Saturday, 11 May 2013, just 9 days ago. Unintentionally, with this, on Friday, 17 May 2013, I reinvented The Alumni Website on Planet Earth. From now on, all the other Alumni websites will look nice but unappealing, neat but unexciting, useful but unattractive. This is not your lucky day!

Since this is all about Alumni, people, I'm happy now to give the design a name, Square Tactics, to signify equality of the faces, races notwithstanding. As the Webmaster here and the Editor of the yearbook to come out based on these Alumni Squares, I shall make sure that there are no round pegs in square holes. As one of the Alumni, I will see to it that fair and square will be the rule.

It just so happens that in Square Tactics, my very first entry, Square One is starting from scratch; it was news on the very first meeting of the Steering Committee preparing for the double celebration of the 95th Alumni Homecoming & Loyalty Day (09-10 October 2013), with Golden Jubilarians President Carmen Paule presiding, with UPLB Alumni Association President Sim Cuyson and Chair of the Board of UPLBAA Pids Rosario in attendance (11 May 2013, UPLB Jubilarians 2013, blogspot.com).

Square Tactics did not happen overnight. My first idea was to write brief sketches of Alumni, focusing on what, now that they are Retirees and Senior Citizens, they have been contributing to their communities - hence the concept "Alumni in Villages" - as individual expressions of the year's theme, "UPLB-Alumni for Sustainable Community Transformation."

When I started this blog, the sole purpose was to have a common Internet address to get the latest news on the preparations for the double celebration of this year's Alumni Homecoming and Loyalty Day. It was meant to be all news, and a little pep talk.

Friday, 17 May 2013, I was thinking of the Steering Committee as wanting to know what we have been doing to date in the matter of the yearbook, and I thought of telling the stories of the Alumni one by one. The result? With a blog layout that matches the concept, there is now a mushroom of square umbrellas under which you will find stories from specific Alumni. Everybody knows everyone has a story to tell.

My first idea was to include only those Alumni who had stories serving their communities. What gave me the original idea was that I was struck by the story of Grace Anacta, who continued her advocacy for women after retirement using her own funds.

Still, along the way, as I wrote more of the lives of Alumni, I realized that I had to relate all those stories because those lives also transformed either themselves or people around them, or both. I also liked the stories where the Alumni decided to return to the Philippines despite tempting job offers in the United States. That is called Loyalty.

By the way, what those Square Tactics tiles contain about the Alumni are all going into a yearbook to come out before Loyalty Day this year, 10 October 2013, the biggest day in the history of the University of the Philippines' College of Agriculture (now transformed into the University of the Philippines Los Baños). The book will be titled thus:

University of the Philippines Los Baños
Alumni In Villages

The concept behind is the oft-quoted "It takes a village to raise a child" popularized by Hillary Rodham Clinton with her book It Takes A Village: And Other Lessons Children Teach Us published in 1996 by Simon & Schuster.

The book Alumni In Villages will comprise 2 major parts; Part 1 will be " Alumni In Villages" and Part 2 "Colleges In Villages." Both parts will contain the programs, projects, activities, and such other initiatives & innovations that the Alumni themselves and the Colleges of UPLB themselves have caused to happen in the villages with the prospects of progress for the villagers. This is the first time in history that such a book will contain such stories. A native of the Philippines, I have always been an original aboriginal.
I have so far written up the Alumni village lives of 33 people, including me:

(1) Abner Tarrega
(2) Alice Agudo
(3) Angelina Marquez
(4) Annie Labadan
(5) Antonio Frio
(6) Antonio Perez
(7) Arcadio Quimio
(8) Arsenio Ela
(9) Arthur Flores Jr
(10) Cesar Villegas
(11) Crisanto Gualberto
(12) Eduardo Rivera
(13) Ellen Bautista
(14) Elymar Vea
(15) Faustino Obrero
(16) Frank A Hilario
(17) Grace Anacta
(18) Jaime Lagdameo
(19) Jesus Alivia
(20) Joel Adriano
(21) Lolit Lim
(22) Marie Roldan
(23) Mila Kalaw
(24) Nicolas Braña Sr
(25) Ofel Ela
(26) Paciencia Castillo
(27) Ramon Nasol
(28) Remigio Torres
(29) Renato Gonzales
(30) Rogelia Sierra
(31) Romulo Davide
(32) Samuel Mancebo
(33) Urdulla Masajo

I am going to target at least 500 Alumni stories in that book so, Alumni, send in your stories now! frankahilario@gmail.com.

Except Adriano, the list of 33 above is made of Alumni who are Retirees and Senior Citizens, who have shown in their lives that they cared about other people, whether you agreed with their politics or not. I consciously avoid mentioning personal honors and awards received in the stories, except when they are vital to the narration, because there are too many of them and they would take up so much space.

The blog and the book are meant to encourage UPLB Alumni to contribute to the transformation of their villages. Now, what can the Alumni do for their alma mater in general?

I am now thinking of the whole giant University of the Philippines System. And when I think of UP, I'm not happy. Here are my thoughts on my alma mater today:

Do you know what's the opposite of UP? The Oblation. Why do I say that?
The Oblation says:
Here I am, all of me. I'm offering all of me to you!

UP says:
I don't care.
I don't care if the tuition fees are too high for poor students.
I don't care if UP graduates simply add to higher unemployment.
I don't care if I am not in the Top 100 of universities in Asia Pacific.
I don't care if I contribute little to government policy except in population.
I don't care if I can't generate enough funds to sustain the whole System by itself without relying on subsidy from the National Government and increasing all school fees other than tuition.

I say:
When will UP learn?

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