UWeek highlights awarding of great men, women of ISUFST

THE ILOILO State University of Fisheries Science and Technology (ISUFST) is poised to make history with its inaugural University Week, slated for January 8-12, 2024. The highlight of the week-long celebration will be the Awarding of the Great Men and Women of ISUFST, scheduled for January 11, 2024, at the Tamasak Arena in Poblacion Ilaya, Barotac Nuevo, Iloilo.

“This will be a special celebration, as we have decided to bring the UWeek to every campus. We hope to share this joyous occasion with as many ISUFST stakeholders as possible, especially the alumni and the community in the external campuses of Dingle, Dumangas, and San Enrique,” said Dr. Edmer Bernardo, one of the main organizers of the weeklong event.

“This initiative underscores the university’s commitment to inclusivity and community engagement,” Dr. Bernardo stressed. He also emphasized this event’s significance, especially regarding alumni involvement. “For one, the first-ever Pagpupugay 2024 for our 40 notable alumni this January 11 is a testament to our desire to recognize, acknowledge, and celebrate our graduates for their exceptional professional, academic, research, and extension contributions to the community at the local, regional, national, and international levels.”

The awardees this year were chosen from the list of nominees who are graduates of any of the campuses of ISUFST from its inception in 1957 onwards and who have outstanding contributions to the school, community, workplace, industry, cause, or advocacy through volunteerism or activism, visionary leadership, selfless dedication, and a commitment to innovation and best practices. The ISUFST Alumni Association initiates this event in coordination with the university’s Alumni Affairs Office.

Meanwhile, the weeklong affair kicks off at the San Enrique Campus on January 8 with a Holy Mass and Foot Parade, the UWeek Opening Program, a Cheerdance Competition, and the inauguration of exhibits alongside various sports activities. The weeklong Sports Activities shall also start here with volleyball, basketball, badminton, and chess.

On January 9, the Dingle Campus will host Literary and Arts Contests, Musical Contests, Dance Contests, and continue with athletic events. This diverse array of activities aims to showcase the artistic and intellectual talents of ISUFST’s students.

The Main Campus at Tiwi, Barotac Nuevo, takes center stage on January 10 with a Thanksgiving Mass and Convocation, followed by a series of Academic and Skills Contests, including the Innovation Expo 2024, and the continuation of sports events. These events highlight the academic rigor, holistic approach, and innovative spirit at ISUFST.

January 11 sees the Dumangas Campus bustling with Academic Contests, Hotel Management (HM) skills contests, Information Technology (IT) Skills contests, and ongoing sports events, reflecting the comprehensive and varied skill set of ISUFST students. On the other hand, aside from awarding the Great Men and Women of ISUFST, the First University Velada shall also be conducted at the Tamasak Arena in Barotac Nuevo on the same day showcasing the talents and gifts of the administrators, faculty, staff, and students.

The week concludes on January 12 at the Main Campus Poblacion Site in Ilaya Poblacion, Barotac Nuevo, with the continuation of sports events and the much-anticipated Mr. and Ms. ISUFST 2024 pageant. The day ends with an Awarding Ceremony for the Sports and Cultural Arts Festival 2024 winners.

A Food Festival and daily Exhibits will add flavor and culture to the entire week, ensuring that the celebration is not just an academic and athletic showcase but also a culinary, cultural, and artistic extravaganza.

This first-ever University Week—themed “ISUFST @ ONE: Building Bridges, Breaking Waves; Signifying the university’s role in bridging academic excellence with the dynamic challenges and opportunities of the Blue Economy”—is more than a series of events it is a manifestation of ISUFST’s ethos of community, excellence, and holistic education. It is a testament to the university’s growth journey and commitment to nurturing future fisheries science and technology leaders.

ISUFST President Dr. Nordy Siason, Jr. previously expressed enthusiasm for the upcoming celebration. “As we usher in this new era, we are not just celebrating our achievements but embracing the boundless possibilities of the Blue Economy,” he said. “This week symbolizes our commitment to bridging academic rigor with practical applications, empowering us to forge new paths towards sustainable ocean development.”

ISUFST, to note, has a rich history that began on June 22, 1957, when it was founded as the Central Iloilo National School of Fisheries (CINSOF) through Republic Act 1925. This transformation of the Barotac Nuevo High School into a fisheries school marked the beginning of its journey toward becoming a leading institution in fisheries and marine sciences. In 1961, expanding its curriculum to include collegiate courses signified a significant step forward.

The institution’s evolution continued with the conversion of the Iloilo National School of Fisheries into the Iloilo Regional School of Fisheries (IRSOF) and later, in 1978, into the Iloilo State College of Fisheries (ISCOF) under Presidential Decree 1523. This change heralded a new era for the college, broadening its academic offerings beyond fisheries to include diverse fields such as agriculture, marine transportation, and educational management. Over the years, ISCOF expanded its reach and impact, integrating CHED-supervised institutions and developing a comprehensive range of academic programs.

In a pivotal move towards university status, Iloilo 4th district Rep. Ferjenel G. Biron sponsored legislation that led to the enactment of Republic Act No. 10604 and, later, RA 11012. These acts laid the foundation for ISCOF’s transformation into a university. Under the leadership of Dr. Nordy D. Siason, Jr., ISUFST achieved full compliance with CHED’s requirements, leading to the official conversion of ISCOF into ISUFST on January 10, 2023, thus the upcoming celebration of the UWeek.

ISUFST’s journey from a high school to a state university marks a pivotal evolution in fisheries and marine education. The inaugural UWeek celebrates this transformation and ISUFST’s commitment to marine conservation, sustainable ocean industries, and community resilience. Achieving full compliance with CHED’s rigorous standards, ISUFST stands as a model of academic excellence under Dr. Siason’s transformative leadership. (Text by Herman Lagon; Photos by Ricky Ramos)