After three years of waiting, the Human Ecological Camp (HECO Camp) finally met in person this November 15, 17, and 18, 2023. The camp is an annual class activity of HUME 100 (Introduction to Human Ecology) classes organized by the College of Human Ecology- based student organizations in coordination with the course instructors. The camp serves as an integration of human ecological concepts and outlooks toward current global and local sustainability issues. The theme “SinagLaya” was chosen by the organizers to promote awareness and action regarding one of the most vulnerable sectors and critical life aspects in terms of climate change and global environmental changes: farmers and food security.
A line-up of three events was crafted for more than 390 students of HUME 100. The first event conducted in CHE on November 15, 2023, was TagHESSan ng Talino, a quiz contest about human ecology concepts, organized by the UP Human Ecology Student Society. Representatives from the twelve HUME 100 class sections joined the contest for prizes and bragging rights.
The second event, held in CHE on Nov 17, 2023, was the First-years, Shiftees, and Transferees’ Career Orientation, led by UP OIKOS, the oldest student organization in CHE. The hybrid event had four CHE alumni as resource speakers representing the four units and specializations: Prof. Almira Geles Lumbres-De Mesa from DCERP, Ms. Arliah D. Abad of DHFDS Ms. Janelle G. Ebron of DSDS Ms. Anne Kirsten G. Lomibao of IHNF. Their presentations provided the attendees with stories of individual journeys to becoming a human ecologist and a nutritionist-dietician in their careers. The competitive advantage and strengths of being a CHE graduate were the highlights of the Q&A segment.
The third and main event of the HECO Camp was held on November 18, 2023, in the Copeland Gymnasium. A whole-day activity was devised to tackle the daily experiences and struggles of farmers in the Philippines and the technical knowledge to promote actions regarding the apparent and emerging issues in the agricultural sector.
The morning program (HECO Learning) was comprised of two lecture discussions from a farmer and a specialist in project development and management. Two Zoom meeting rooms were scheduled to accommodate all the participants. In the first room, Mr. TL Naing and Dr. Jennifer Sunga-Amparo from DSDS led the presentations; while Mr. Lauro “Tay Larry” Diego of MASIPAG-Bataan and Prof. Mafe Dapito from DSDS in the second room. The farmers shared their lived experiences amid the current political and natural environmental conditions. Meanwhile, Dr. Amparo and Prof. Dapito facilitated a discussion on the technicalities of developing community-based projects. These topics aimed to give a solid foundation for the students in writing the final requirement for the event, which was an advocacy project proposal.
The afternoon activities began with fun games and activities. The afternoon session (HECO Activity) was composed of the Food Expo, organized by PAN-AO, and a proposal presentation. The Food Expo aims to promote awareness regarding local foods and the use of indigenous food ingredients. Class sections were assigned to present and prepare food from a region in the Philippines designated to their section. Classes were evaluated through food presentation and food taste.
The proposal presentation allowed the students to showcase their talent in public presentation and arts. They were evaluated based on their relevance to the theme, creativity, and technical content. The program also included HECO Commitment, a pledge towards environmental stewardship.
As an integration of the whole event, a presentation about the link of the agricultural system to food and nutrition security was led by Mr. Timothy John Estorque, a faculty member from the Institute of Human Nutrition and Food. This was followed by a synthesis by the HUME 100 coordinator, Asst. Prof. John Ceffrey L. Eligue from the Department of Community and Environmental Resource Planning.
Indeed, HECO Camp is more than a class activity as it showed the outcome of a collaborative effort through the student organizations, faculty members, and HUME 100 takers. HUME 100 is a core course taken by first-year BS Human Ecology and BS Nutrition students including interested students from other colleges in UPLB such as CDC, CAS, CEM, and CEAT.
HECO Camp 2023 was made possible the collaboration of Samahan ng mga Mag-aaral ng Teknolohiyang Panlipunan – UPLB, UPLB College of Human Ecology Student Council, UPLB College of Human Ecology Freshman Council, UP Society of Human Settlements Planners, UP OIKOS, UP Human Ecology Student Society, Philippine Association of Nutrition – Alpha Omega Chapter and UPLB Human and Family Development Society. (JCEligue)