XU-RSO celebrates 10 years as dev’t catalyst, think tank in Mindanao


By Stephen J Pedroza

The Research and Social Outreach cluster of Xavier University showcased in a multimedia exhibit their knowledge products and contributions to the development of Cagayan de Oro City, of Mindanao and beyond in the last decade.

The AMaZE Exhibit, short for Ateneo Magis Zeal of Engagements, kicked off Tuesday, February 9, at the Fr. Francisco Demetrio SJ Gallery located in the country’s first folkloric museum, Museo de Oro. The said exhibit will run until Feb. 18.

With the goal of providing an out-of-the box viewing experience to visitors, AMaZE is a festival of documentaries taking viewers on a riveting traipse around RSO’s societal engagements in Mindanao.

“What we are showing here are our engagements with the local government units, the communities, NGOs and partners,” said Dr. Hilly Ann Roa-Quiaoit, XU vice-president for RSO, adding, “We wanted to show these products after 10 long years of innovations.”

These knowledge products, which have been produced since the inception of RSO in 2006, Quiaoit continued, can be replicated by other institutions and in different areas.

A decade of hard work

“This is a celebration that after the hardships of building a new way of addressing an issue, which is combining research and outreach — supporting research to come up with solutions in the development work— we’ve finally gained foothold,” Quiaoit declared.

AMaZE houses multimedia presentations of the projects and programs of the different RSO units in the five thematic areas of the university, namely, in fields of food security, environment, governance, health, and peace.

“As we celebrate the closure of the decade of RSO at Xavier, we hope that [people] will enjoy this way of showing our engagements [using] less paper,” she said. “Simple is better, and even elegant.”

The five videos, representing each of the five themes of RSO, chronicle the challenges, outcomes and opportunities of the RSO programs, and their contributions to the greater society. Each video contains interviews with key stakeholders and clips from partner communities and project areas.

RSO serves as a knowledge tank in Cagayan de Oro City, helping local, national and international institutions, both public and private, in implementing their development initiatives in the region.

The 10-year-old cluster encompasses both college-based and non-college-based programs, guided by the university’s vision and mission and mandates of the Society of Jesus Social Apostolate.

Some of the highlights of RSO in the last decade are the creation of the multisectoral CDO Peoples’ Council, the Xavier Ecoville Project, development of the disaster and risks maps of the city, Payment for Ecosystem Services scheme for the CDO river basin, and publications of local anthologies and multifaceted research papers, among others.

RSO’s relevance and future

In the last ten years, RSO has been closely working with various LGUs and public agencies for a common cause: inclusive growth. The cluster provides local government units with science-based data, which local officials can use as bases to determine which projects and programs to implement and fund long term.

“You opened the eyes of the government so new horizons came out,” CDO Mayor Oscar S. Moreno shared during the opening ceremony of AMaZE. “Such a multitalented group; because of what you have done, you have encouraged the government to do what you would want us to do.”

Moreno acknowledged RSO’s contribution to the city and to the region, especially in information dissemination.

“The growth of the university depends on the growth and competitiveness of the city and vice versa. You have a stake in the city, whether you like it or not,” he related.

“It’s CDO that mirrors the growth of the region and the relevance of RSO in the growth of the city is very, very strong,” the mayor added.

RSO is optimistic that the university will strengthen its engagements with different LGUs and institutions.

Quiaoit expressed her appreciation and gratitude to the people behind the success of the cluster through the years.

RSO remains to be a prime model of a successful convergence of university expertise, local government participation, partnerships with other development agencies and, most importantly, cooperation of communities for the development not just of the City of Golden Friendship but the greater Mindanao.

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