FEU SDev recognizes 3 Tamaraw honorees for TOSS award 2023

FEU Advocate
July 30, 2023 08:55

By Lynette Joy A. Pasajol

Far Eastern University (FEU) Student Development (SDev) awarded 3 students from the FEU Class of 2023 as recipients of The Outstanding Senior Student (TOSS) award during the 95th Commencement Exercises, held last July 25-27.

The recognized award recipients are Dianne Erika Mortera from Bachelor of Arts in International Studies, Czaren Jhon Suezo from Bachelor of Fine Arts in Visual Communication, and Syreen Keith Vigilia from Bachelor of Arts in Language and Literature Studies.

In an interview with FEU Advocate, newly-appointed SDev Director Rondell Gascon shared the decade-long tradition of granting the award.

“Interestingly, for this year, we have a very active involvement of industry partners because they also joined as part of the panel of judges. That’s good because it’s a complete circle of how the different sectors would look at our nominees for TOSS,” Gascon said.

This year is set apart by having industry partners such as Prosple Philippines and JPMorgan Chase & Co. as part of the screening committee.

The annual search spearheaded by SDev involved both a paper and interview screening committee with a panel of judges from various sectors, including the academe, faculty, alumni, and industry partners.

During the selection process, the paper screening committee is composed of distinguished FEU alumni, former TOSS awardees, previous department chairs, and associate deans.

“The next stage is an interview panel composed of different academic managers and different university administrators. It’s really a combination of the academe, our alumni, our faculty administrators, and industry partners,” the SDev Director added.

Gascon noted that the entire three-week process started on June 2 with nominee requirements submission, followed by the paper screening on June 5-6 and panel interviews on June 8. 

The remaining two weeks were allotted for a final deliberation and approval with the academic executive council.

Recognizing excellence and community contributions

Apart from the SDev officially announcing the results, the awardees were also recognized during the Academic Excellence Recognition Day at the FEU Main Auditorium last July 20.

Award recipient Mortera attributed her TOSS award to three significant accomplishments: graduating Magna Cum Laude, participating in the Global Undergraduate Exchange program, and assuming student leadership roles both within FEU and external organizations.

As a Tamaraw, Mortera shared how she gives back to the community by being part of the donation drive Tulong Mo, Hapunan Ko.

“We started Tulong Mo, Hapunan Ko, a donation drive for the victims of Typhoon Ulysses in Isabela. I was also thankful to be part of different volunteer initiatives from organizations in FEU like the International Studies Society, Nicanor Reyes Memorial Foundation… as well as from outside organizations like the Markprof Foundation and Ayala Young Leaders Congress,” she said.

Similarly, Suezo has achieved the following: representing FEU at the Ayala Young Leaders Congress, serving as the Student Council President of the Institute of Architecture and Fine Arts (IARFA), and earning recognition for the Top 3 Best Thesis during the IARFA Research Colloquium.

For his community work, Suezo co-founded The Bahin Project, which extends help to the Subanen indigenous community, and is also a co-proponent of the Baryanihan Movement.

“November of 2020 when Typhoon Ulysses affected many Filipinos, Baryanihan Movement, where I am the Vice Chairperson for Internal Affairs, directly managed a donation drive to help the victims of the calamity. As a co-proponent, we were fortunate enough to have partnerships and sponsorships and be able to collect more than a million worth of donations that helped and reached 5,196 families during the 3-month-long relief operations,” he shared.

Meanwhile, Vigilia credited her TOSS award to her Summa Cum Laude qualification, executive roles, achievements in the FEU Oratorical and Debate Council (ORADEC), public speaking awards, and dedication to advocacy shown through community involvement.

“Additionally, through the executive roles I occupied during my time in FEU organizations and my volunteer work outside of the University, I was able to contribute my skills and effort towards various outreach programs. These programs extended assistance to children with little to no access to education and Persons Deprived of Liberty (PDLs),” she stated.

Apart from extensive community involvement, criteria for eligibility also include having no failing grade or authorized withdrawal, no disciplinary cases recorded in the Office of Student Discipline, a certification of good moral character, and a report of ratings of the student applicants.

“We’re also looking at the types of projects they have been part of and how they intend to sustain those projects even after they leave FEU... It’s really excellence in academics, leadership, different programs for the community, and exemplary role models when it comes to moral values and uprightness,” Gascon added.

Recognized TOSS awardees will also serve as the pool for the University’s selection of its candidates for recognitions like the Dr. Nicanor Reyes Sr. Leadership Award and the Ten Outstanding Students of the Philippines (TOSP).

TOSS is an annual program recognizing fourth or fifth-year students for their academic excellence, outstanding leadership, extensive community involvement, and exemplary moral values anchored on the University’s core values: Fortitude, Excellence, and Uprightness.

(Photo courtesy of FEU-Student Development Facebook post)