Last week the Ateneo Literary Association (ALA) Core Committee had a meeting in the org’s office to review its Vision and Mission and to lay the essential groundwork for activities this coming school year. Wait, wait… ALA has an office now? Say what? Unbelievable. We’ve finally become a legitimate organization in the university. We finally have a home… for now.
I remember last year we would just meet at random restaurants to talk about the organization’s future. The plans we had were so ambitious. As the Moderator I felt slightly intimidated (but hopeful) by the projects that we proposed. Sure, we were the crazy ones betting high (but on some occasions we played a little safe). We were all dreamers, small individuals who dreamed big, and we were never really sure of what will eventually happen. We just, well, did our stuff and hoped for the best.
And things fell into place. Members come and go. Some have actually stepped up and started composing poetry and prose. While some have met young and seasoned writers who would encourage the members to never give up, grow, and find their respective voices.
As a young organization we had our highs and lows, our arguments, our cancelled (if not postponed) projects and whatnot, but we also held on to that dream of re-introducing the power of literature and creative writing to the university. We pushed forward. We believed (and we still do).
After one year, after a number of papercup sessions, meetings, seminars, collaborations, and a little bit of organizational restructuring, we finally have a home, and we will do everything to keep it now that the competition among organizations has gotten riskier, more challenging.
We keep calm; we carry on.
I still hope that one day more students will realize that they can be beyond who they think they are — that they are not defined by their courses, that young accountants can also compose poems, young engineers can write good short stories, or young biologists can write amazing non-fiction.
I still hope that certain departments and co/extra-organizations will finally give their members the freedom to join other groups. I believe in options. Don’t take that away from them.
I still hope that the older, more established organizations will stop being complacent, stop being so defensive, and start accepting the fact that they’ve been lingering in their comfort zones for far too long. Wake up. Take a step back and see what you’ve been doing for the past few years. Be open. Listen, and listen well.
I still hope that more moderators will become more active this coming school year.
I still hope that more extra-curricular organizations will show up, especially arts/culture-based organizations. In fact, the university still needs:
- A music org which can act as a home for young bands and music lovers,
- A theater group which can showcase plays written by local and international playwrights,
- A glee club, one which can focus on popular songs. They have every freedom to be silly, just because they’re fun to listen to, and
- A film society which can train young filmmakers, scriptwriters, and critics.
To the members of the Ateneo Literary Association, thanks for believing!