By: Ryan Tejero
UP Alumni groups like UPAAGC has been viewed as “elitists” by the Fil-Am community at large. Being government scholars, who received worldclass education from a university funded by tax-paying Filipinos, alumni owe a debt of gratitude to the nation. The best way to repay this “debt” is to serve its people however and wherever they may be. Each UP graduate is bound by this unspoken mission and hopes to be able to carry out that charge even when they are far away from their motherland.
Like any social group, UPAAGC has been beset by intrigue, in-fighting among the board and its members, differing opinions of how to run the organization, and clashing personalities. By sticking to the association’s mission and keeping the goals in mind, it is hoped that all UP alumni will set aside past and present differences and work together. UPAAGC is currently promoting a professional yet friendly atmosphere within the group as new (and old) members are being welcomed. The alumni group now welcomes non-UP graduates, community leaders, friends and family of UP alumni as associate members of the organization. UP alumni do not live in isolation. It is, indeed, a part of the community and is here FOR the community.
Presently, the projects and activities planned for 2019 aim to accomplish the vision, that is built upon the strengths and legacies of UPAAGC’s founders and past presidents toward a progressive institution that is not only service-oriented but relevant, open, and dynamic.
UPAAGC is a nonprofit organization of alumni, former students, and friends of UP. Its mission is to build a group of dedicated UP alumni that will promote, support, and further elevate the quality education at the University, enhance the cultural, scientific, and educational endeavors of the Filipino community, generate and develop appreciation of concerns directly affecting the University and the Filipino community, through collaboration and networking of alumni, former students and friends inspired by a keen sense of civic spirit and loyalty to the alma mater.
UPAAGC Goals include the following: To organize, support and promote various fundraising events for the benefit of the University of the Philippines; To sponsor and promote various projects that provide scholarships and other financial assistance to needy students of the University; To foster and encourage networking events for alumni and former students of the University in the Chicago metropolitan area; To use and apply the income and assets of the Corporation from time to time and in such manner as the Board of Directors or such persons designated by the Board of Directors may determine, exclusively for charitable, scientific, or educational purposes; To enhance awareness and appreciation of Filipino culture among alumni, former students of the University and the community at large; To sponsor and promote social activities and do all other things necessary and appropriate for the furtherance and accomplishment of the above purposes.
Currently, UPAAGC’s on-going projects include: Membership drive to reach out to UP alumni in Illinois through social media, UP alumni meet and greet events, fellowship meetings and the annual UPAAGC family picnic; Partnership with other Filipino-American nonprofit groups; Support Philippine consulate projects and activities; Partnership with Illinois government agencies to benefit Filipino-American community; Community education events such as health care symposium and town hall talks on issues affecting the Filipino-American community, and Fundraising events to benefit selected groups and departments in the University of the Philippines such as the annual golf outing and Christmas dinner dance and fundraising event.
For this year, UPAAGC has a line-up of fundraising events: Annual Golf Outing and Family Picnic in August; Annual Christmas Dinner Dance and Fundraising Event in December; Health Care Symposium in June. Possible beneficiaries include: UP Open University, UP Vanguard, UP Food Technology Program, UP Pre-Medical Society.
Presently heading UPAAGC, is Sheila Ferrer-Estor. She works as the School Administrator of International Career Institute (ICI), which is a private business vocational school with concentration on nursing and allied health care programs. She is also involved as a Nursing continuing education program planner with Senior First Connection, which is a group of nurses organizing and offering continuing education activities (seminars) for health care providers and organizations. Sheila also works as an Academic consultant, curriculum developer, textbook and instructional material writer and reviewer for allied health programs.
In the Philippines, Sheila grew up and lived in Quezon City. Her parents hail from Hagonoy, Bulacan and Mangatarem, Pangasinan. Sheila graduated from UP Diliman with Bachelor in Secondary Education Major in Health Education Minor in Biology; Master of Arts in Education Major in Health Education Minor in Medical Anthropology. While in the Philippines, she worked as Health Education Instructor in the UP Integrated School before coming to US. In her capacity as UP teacher, she got involved in research and outreach projects with the Philippine Department of Education, Department of Health and ASEAN Training Center for Preventive Drug Education.
She is affiliated with CNA Educators Association since 2003, and became the organization’s Northern Region Secretary & Executive Committee Member since 2016 to present. She has been a member of UPAAGC since 2003, and has served as Secretary and BOD member.
Under her leadership at UPAAGC, Sheila shares her vision “for UPAAGC to bring all UP alumni together and rekindle their spirit of giving back to the university and call on their sense of service to Filipinos in America, at least in Illinois, bringing the designation of “Iskolar ng Bayan” into action.” Please contact Sheila to get involved in UPAAGC events at scferrer@ yahoo.com.
UPAAGC induction of officers on December 2, 2018 at the Hilton Gardens in Des Plaines IL.