By Roi Lomotan
VALENCIA, Negros Oriental (PIA) – Twenty-eight student leaders in Negros Island have become champions of environmental sustainability after completing the three-day Binhi Youth Camp held here recently.
The camp was organized by Energy Development Corporation (EDC), a renewable energy firm that operates a geothermal power plant in the municipality of Valencia. The event was held at EDC camp facilities in Barangay Puhagan.
These student leaders were engaged in different learning sessions where they were taught on the importance of environmental sustainability and reforestation to recharge the natural geothermal reservoir in said town.
Aside from this, EDC’s corporate greening program “Binhi” were also introduced to the campers.
Binhi aims to reforest at least 1,000 hectares of land throughout the country every year.
In Negros Oriental, the program has already covered 2,000 land hectares with many native trees planted.
The Binhi campers showed their commitment to support this advocacy by planting 30 species of molave and baguilomboy trees.
“I think the programs aim for young individuals to have their advocacy when it comes to environmental concerns or environmental protection,” Kleine Jun Ontolan, one of the Binhi campers, shared when he was asked to share some of his learnings in the camp.
“Trees give everything to use, they sustain and supply people with everything they need, I guess we cannot survive without trees or without nature in general,” he added.
Ontolan is a 4th year geology student of Negros Oriental State University (NORSU).
“It’s very nice to hear a lot of seminars provoking student leaders to do tree planting,” said Ode Delos Reyes who is another participant of Binhi Camp.
Delos Reyes is a fourth year student from Riverside College in Negros Occidental.
“As what I see, we are very aware of what’s happening in the environment. I want to start the change we want to see. I want to start within me. I would like to pass my advocacy to my fellow student leaders,” he added.
On the last day of the camp, Visayan Forum Negros Oriental coordinator Dondee Señeris gave a talk on mobilizing people for a cause.
He cited that in order to convince people to join an advocacy, there should be clear cause or purpose and the advocates should have a technical know-how on the advocacy and they should be persons of integrity so others will trust them.
Finally, Señeris challenged campers to maximize the use of mechanical or digital media to invite others to participate in the Binhi advocacy.
Apart from learning the value of environmental sustainability to campers, they were also taught some key points of leadership.
EDC Negros Island Geothermal Business Unit (NIGBU) Head James Villaroman shared some tips on leadership, stressing that discipline, humility and open mindedness are some of the important characteristics of leaders.
But most importantly, leaders act with integrity and with respect with others, he said.
Student leaders representing Negros Oriental came from Negros Oriental State University (NORSU), Silliman University (SU), St. Paul University Dumaguete (SPUD), Foundation University while the delegates from Negros Occidental are from University of St. La Salle, Carlos A. Hilado Memorial State College, Bago City College, La Consolacion College-Bacolod, Riverside College, Colegio De San Agustin-Bacolod and West Negros University-Systems Technology Institute (STI). (rmn/ral/PIA7-NegOr/This article was first published at PIA website on Dec.1,2015)