Living the Animo

by Karl Velhagen, President, De La Salle Alumni Association

February of this year, my LSGH 70 class celebrated its 50th year. Little did we know then what was going to happen the following month. First week of March was our DLSU annual homecoming. Little did we know what was going to happen a week after. We will soon be entering our 6th month of lockdown. How did six months pass so quickly?

Last March 7, the DLSAA had its elections for its new set of officers. There were two of us from the board that garnered an equal number of votes. The decision to split our terms was agreed upon, with me taking the position as president for the 1st of 2 years, thus 2020-2021. My term would start June 2020. It has been 3 months since taking office. Under normal conditions we would have had our usual Trustees’ meetings in a boardroom most likely at Hotel Benilde, starting with breakfast over coffee. Then moving to a conference room to discuss alumni affairs. Normally 3 hours to complete. But when lockdown came, I asked myself how am I going to carry out the duties of the office of the President? Thank God for technology. Because of video conferencing apps, Viber, and email, the job gets done. And, what’s nice is that we are able to enjoy our breakfast and coffee within the confines of our own homes. And surprisingly it’s a lot of fun. For some reason we are able to stay focused on the agenda. Unlike in a face-to-face situation there are always the sidebar conversations. And what’s nice is, we listen. The agendas are literally on our face.

So as the current President of the DLSAA I have been fortunate to be a part of milestone projects these last 3 months. The DLSAA in partnership with DLSU LSPO (Lasallian Pastoral Office) completed a formation workshop with Br. Michael Broughton FSC as moderator. This was followed by a collaboration effort with DLSU Career Services’ Virtual Job Expo. The College of Business Chapter, in partnership with the College of Engineering Chapter, recently had its 1st, very successful I must say, webinar project, “HOW TO ACHIEVE YOUR PERSONAL BRAND”. The DLSAA also supports DLSU PUSA. More alumni activities are in the pipeline.

The lockdown also gave me the opportunity to do online teaching. It was during the last 2 months of the term at CSB’s SHRIM campus that faculty had to make a quick shift from the usual face-to-face classroom environment to closing the term with existing digital platforms.

Also, these last 2 months I have been preparing, with guidance, to go fulltime online as I return for another term at Southville International School and Colleges in Las Pinas. The term will be starting this month of August. I have had to immerse myself on video conferencing apps, other digital platforms such as Google Classroom, other than the usual Facebook and Messenger.

And all this time, with the help of my millennial children we have learned how to live without having to go to the grocery, go to the drug store, and hear mass online. We have learned that prayer is an important part of our daily lives. Something we have taken for granted for a long time. While we do miss going to mass, we take comfort in believing that our church is really our home, and that our community is really our family.

So much to be thankful for!

Live Jesus in our hearts, Forever!