• Angel Martinez

What We’ll Always Miss About Onsite Org Culture



It is an indisputable fact that Ateneo is renowned for our vibrant org culture: for years, we’ve nurtured communities that cater to all sorts of interests and serve as a home for any kind of student. But quarantine has altered our distinct processes and protocols beyond recognition that there is no guarantee they will still be in place when face-to-face classes resume. As part of the last batch who has experienced onsite org life in its totality, it feels like my duty to pass on our favorite traditions to you, dear reader. Perhaps, you will find it intriguing or inspiring enough to look forward to when it’s your turn to set foot in Katipunan.


Onsite General Assemblies (GA)

From bolting out of your last class to make it to the GA on the opposite side of campus, to resorting to Matteo Steps when every single table on the second floor is swarming with ME majors—there is a certain thrill brought by general assemblies even before the event begins. Back then, it was far easier to establish rapport with fellow co-team members and set the tone for the rest of the project period. And, of course, nothing beats the feeling of manually searching a room for your crush as opposed to skimming a mere grid of Zoom squares.


The Entire Project Preparation Process

As the kids say these days, in-person org events simply hit different. But just as memorable as the actual project itself is all the preparation that went into it: students hunching over and painting illustration boards (this was for something we used to call set design) or practicing endearingly cheesy choreography, sometimes even on Saturday mornings. Music fills the air, with the occasional burst of laughter following friendly banter. It’s a lot of hard work, I’m not even going to lie, but this always culminates in a successful event and a celebratory inuman in our Katip bar of choice.


Hanging out in Tambay Week

While we do not encourage ditching class to hang out at one of the most anticipated projects of the year, I’d be lying if I said that the option didn’t tempt me every time it presented itself. Going to either SEC A Foyer or Colayco Pavilion for all five days from 9am to 5pm always feels like a magical game of cards: one moment, people are playing actual cards (or mahjong or multiplayer video games). The next, someone picks up a guitar and starts jamming to old OPM songs. Others are trying out the party games that start every hour, but honestly most of us simply make attempts at conversations with new friends without getting shushed by administrative staff.


Going Out of Town for Leadership Training Seminars (and the magic that comes with it 😉)

What better way to cap off a stressful semester than to go out of town and soak in equal parts sun and sea? Here, we get to witness our orgmates at their best: coming together to solve the most bizarre challenges, crying out in song to celebrate a triumphant three days, and having heart-to-heart chats until the wee hours of the morning. And whenever you remember that all of you are gathered there because of your common willingness to serve, you’re reminded that this beautiful community is right where you belong—just like what happened to me back in 2019.


Org Room Decorations

At the end of the day, all roads lead back to our beloved org rooms. And just like how Discord servers are designed down to the tiniest detail with all sorts of channels and bots, each room within MVP is reflective of the organization’s personality. Or sometimes, it just has to be cozy enough to sneak a quick nap in between periods. Though it’s technically an office space, feel free to bring anything that can make it feel like a second home—from bean bags and board games, to photo walls and plants. After all, some of the happiest memories of your entire college journey will take place within this cramped, shared space with the best people you’ll ever meet.


Not to sound dramatic but enumerating just five out of my many standout moments as a BS Org student brought tears to my eyes. On most days, I still can’t accept that I did all of these things for the last time without knowing and failed to give them the appreciation they deserved. But now, I have the tiniest sliver of faith that the practices I know and love will live on post-crisis and continue to make generations of Ateneans as happy and fulfilled as I once was.


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All credits for the elements in the banner go to the rightful owners. Photos from Pinterest.

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