by Roger Jay L. De Vela (ELP 2014), Philippines
It has been ten months since I participated in the Beahrs Environmental Leadership Program of the University of California, Berkeley. I can proudly say that mine is one of the many lives touched and changed by the program since it started in 2001.
Having had the rare chance of participating in the ELP, having learned from the most credible experts in the field and having shared ideas and experiences with other environmental leaders has changed me in many ways.
I am working as a Planning Officer in Camarines Norte State College, a humble and young academic institution in the Philippines. While I do varied management tasks as a Planning Officer, I also perform the role of a College Instructor, handling engineering courses such as Refrigeration Engineering, Environmental Control Engineering and Engineering Research, to name a few. The ELP provided me with a more profound understanding of issues related to the environment, be it climate change, resource management or socio-economics. As such, I can now elaborate more deeply to my students the various issues that should matter to this generation. As I teach engineering research, the ELP has provided me with greater confidence to suggest research ideas on environment-friendly technologies. Having listened to various researchers we met at the ELP, I have shared with my students what the rest of the world is busy doing as far as environmental research is concerned.
As a Planning Officer and as a young leader, I have had the chance to share what I learned about collaborative leadership, my favorite topic from the program. I had the opportunity to assist three student organizations in employing collaborative leadership techniques to bring various stakeholders on board with the change they want to see in their organization and their community.
yes-o-camp-300x223_2.jpg Engr. Roger Jay L. De Vela speaking before a group of around 800 people composed of students and high school teachers in the Bicol Region, Philippines. He talks about Climate Change and Climate Engineering.
The knowledge and insights I gathered from ELP did not stop with me. It transcended to a larger community as I have shared them on several occasions to various groups such as university students, high school teachers and students and even to the playful and curious students from elementary school. The numbers total to over 1,000. In the process of sharing, I have learned a valuable lesson about people and the environment. Coming from different backgrounds, my listeners had different levels of acceptance and understanding regarding the intricacies of environmental issues. One thing was common though. We all want a better planet, and making it a better one takes a lot of commitment from everyone… commitment which shall begin from knowing where our planet currently stands, where it is going and what needs to be done. Education really matters.
In all those occasions where I acted as a resource person, I have made use of the trainings I got from the ELP. Indeed, there is no free lunch! I had the privilege of being trained by the ELP, but it comes with great responsibility. As an ELP alumnus, and as an environmental leader, I commit to share with more people whatever it is that I will be learning to make this planet a better place.
May the ELP stand for more years of educating leaders, molding and transforming them from being ordinary leaders to environmental leaders… and who, in return, touch and shape lives in many parts of the world.