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ANIMA: From the Outset

Words by: Mia Tacoloy

[A candid interview given by Kyle Valencia, ANIMA’s party head. Here he recounts what happened in last year’s election and tells of what’s to come for ANIMA this AY 2017-2018.]

A tone of change has swept through the university this school year. Students, faculty, personnel and various stakeholders alike might agree in noticing developments in many areas within UA&P. Indeed, with the rise of a new building in campus, the current repainting underway, the acquisition of new teaching staff and other improvements behind the scenes, it’s as if the school has taken in a huge breath of fresh air, waiting to release it bit by bit with all its endeavors, big and small as the year progresses.

To be sure, the university’s political climate, mainly in the form of its two student-led political parties is contributing as much as it can in anticipation of that release. One of them, Anima, has fixed its sights anew coming from last year’s Student Government Elections. Some changes are in order for UA&P’s longest running political party.

A few hours prior ANIMA’s general assembly, party head Kyle Valencia sat with the Bosun to discuss what happened the year past, what would hopefully happen by this year’s end and everything in between. In view of the disappointing results of the much heated USG Elections, he reflects on what may have gone wrong leading up to the event:

“I think with last year it was more of the whole team settling into the job…because ever since really, there has been this passing down of the torch in Anima and last year I don’t think it was done properly.”

Recalling his personal experience of being called up to the core team just two weeks before the start of campaign season, Kyle acknowledges that preparation efforts were the missing link:

“Last year we did okay in the campaign side, but in terms of marketing we didn’t show as much as we wanted to because we didn’t have ample time to prepare.”

Despite this, he conveys that although the results didn’t reflect what they would have wanted to see, there is still something to be said in how the party helped its candidates in the best ways possible. Kyle looks back on the whole experience of last year:

“Externally, I believe we weren’t able to show the best representation of ANIMA last year. Everything in ANIMA, the core beliefs, the three pillars, philosophies…have been there for 23 years. But how the party presents itself differs every year, and last year was just not the best representation we wanted to show.”

Recognizing these flaws, ANIMA would like to and has already begun to reverse this. To start off, Kyle shares that it is a new endeavor for the party to begin its efforts and start being actively engaged during the first semester of the school year. One of ANIMA’s goals is to pull out all stops especially in reminding the student body and everyone else what the party is all about. On social media, their presence has been increasingly obvious these past weeks. With this new development Kyle has to say:

“We’re amping up everything. On social media of course, with the recruitment videos, recruitment of Voice Out!, it’s an externally seen aspect of how we want to show ourselves, and in this way people see that we are going big, but I think it’s a good note that this is only a reflection of how the organization is as whole. We’re amping it up in everything, basically.”

Internally, in line with the goal of keeping the population informed of what ANIMA stands for, much has to be made in how the party itself keeps everyone affiliated with it intact. Kyle reveals that the party is not intimidated by the large number of students going to the assembly, and is quick to remind that the biggest reflection of ANIMA are its members and candidates. As such, there is much to be done in ensuring that each individual feels a sense of belonging, which is why projects that are larger in scale and in number are planned for the year ahead. He explains:

“Considering the fact that ANIMA has been around for over 23 years, in the same way I’d like that 23 years from now buhay pa yung mga projects ng ANIMA.”

So far, the effort speaks for itself:

“We’ve actually all really been proud this year at the way we’ve been working at things, since summer…everyone’s really proud because we’re heading somewhere.”

For the party head, a prevailing unity in the ANIMA family also drives its members to do more work, especially in the face of a new opponent. He is quick to clarify that even as the party is very much on its own in its affairs and doesn’t feel the need to always be impacted by the opposing party, ANIMA will always cherish the presence of KASANGGA. Nevertheless, the arrival of the neophyte party served as a wake-up call:

“KASANGGA brought more good to our organization. How they do it doesn’t necessarily show that but for ANIMA we go down to the root of their presence in the university.”

He asserts that ANIMA wouldn’t be able to grow as much so far, this year were it not for the opposing team. In light of this, there is also the ever growing need for the party to change misconceptions many may have of what ANIMA projects itself to be, that it doesn’t necessarily spell all “spirit” and no action.

“ANIMA is just way more than just the results of the election. It’s all about our members, what we preach, the number of lives we touch. Some people might think that we’re all spirit and no action but what we preach is the fact that we want to enhance your spirit and your character, everything that comes along with the spirit! And really, we have both [spirit and action], but we want to stress more on the spirit of the person to serve..that we were able to motivate you and enhance your inner self, so that even as members graduate, the willingness to serve will be there. We want ANIMA to be something that you bring along for the rest of your lives.”

Needless to say, the prospects for ANIMA are interesting and are proving to be bigger for the incoming year. For the party, it’s all about going back to the roots and reaffirming their legacy as the longest running political party of UA&P.

“I don’t think anyone outside ANIMA will expect the gravity of the things we’re planning this year. We’re going to be huge.”