The turnover and Inauguration ceremony, held during the Founders Day, 2011.
The turnover and Inauguration ceremony, held during the Founders Day, 2011.
One of the highlights, and perhaps the biggest  challenge during my term as SUACONA Chairperson,  was the undertaking of SUACONA, to assist Silliman University in funding the renovation and refurbishing of Oriental Hall, into a much dreamed- about- University Student Center.  A “Student Center” that  is strategically located;  an excellent spot next to the University Church, the Amphitheater, Dormitories among others. This was envisioned to create an ideal hub for students  to meet with friends and classmates, to relax, to play, to inter-act and to work together. Various  student organizations will also be provided a permanent and formal place for meetings and discussions, truly a perfect venue to stoke the ember of the Silliman Spirit.
The idea of a partnership between SUACONA and Silliman University was suggested by  President Ben S. Malayang III  to make  this project a reality. According to President Malayang, SUACONA’s financial assistance can augment to the total budgetary requirements of the project, thereby, setting free some of the Capital Outlay of the University, for other important usage.  
Initially, the project seemed like an enormous undertaking. Could SUACONA do it?  Various members of SUACONA’s Board of Directors brainstormed on the idea.  It was the topic of intense  discussions among many Chapters for quite a while.  But with the encouragement of those members who believed that it is  DOABLE  coupled with a very positive thought that this is a worthwhile legacy to undertake, the idea was presented to the SUACONA Board of Directors for approval. It was approved unanimously. Henceforth, a University Student Center Project Committee was created, made up of five Executive SUACONA members and twelve Chapter Presidents.
The rest is history. Various Chapters came forward to accept the challenge to help the University.  Excitement was in high gear,  and one-by-one the alumni chapters of North America committed to funding and sponsoring rooms on the 1st floor, the 2nd floor, and finally the 3rd floor.  The following Chapters and donors committed to sponsor their respective rooms:
Ground or First Floor
Aloha Chapter of Hawaii
Rev. Frank & Mrs. Nelly Acuna  Somera
Southern California Chapter
Southern California Chapter
Georgia Chapter
Alpha Sigma Phi
Southern California Chapter
Alberta , Canada Chapter
Montreal ,Quebec  Chapter
New York-New Jersey Chapter
SUACONA & New York-New Jersey Chapter
Dr. David & Ruth Buot Yandell & Arizona Ch.
Student Center (Admin. Office)
Campus Chaplaincy Center
The Weekly Sillimanian Office
The Portal Yearbook Office
ID Services Office
Student Assistant Association
Student Org. & Activities Div.
Student Government Office
Council of Student Orgs.
Student Lounge 1
Student Lounge 2
South Garden
Second Floor
Delaware Valley Chapter, San Diego Chapter &
Nat’l Capital Region Chapter
Ontario, Canada Chapter
Chicago SAI Chapter
Dr. Renato & Mrs. Esther Nolido Querubin & (MOK)Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky Chapter
Student Services Assistant Area and Work Room
Conference Room
Student Housing & Residence
Student Scholarship & Aid Div
Dean of Student Office
Third Floor
Ms.  Ma. Antonia (Tonette) Guatelara Geary &
Ms.  Editha Navarro
Members of the Student Center Committee
South Florida Chapter
Houston, Texas (SUGAR) Chapter
SUACONA & New York-New Jersey Chapter
Association of Central Texas Chapter (ACTS)
Testing Room 1
Testing Center Room
Testing Room 3
Personality Enhancemt Room1
Personality Enhancemt Room2
Guidance & Testing Division
Other Chapters, partnered with each other to fund the bigger, more expensive rooms.  Moreover, individual donors stepped forward to sponsor a room. Very creative ideas for fund-raising were translated in  different forms from Chapter-to-Chapter. The New York-New Jersey Chapter spearheaded a car (Mercedes Benz) raffle fundraiser with all proceeds earmarked for the Student Center. MOWK had a golf tournament and ACTS a Valentine’s Day benefit dinner; Southern California had a Masquerade Ball and other Chapters braved the December cold weather to carol during the Christmas season. Even straight solicitations from individual members were undertaken.
Sillimanians attending Tipon 2011 in Alaska visited our display of the Student Center project located in the Gold Room of the Westmark Hotel in Fairbanks, Alaska. The turnover and Inauguration ceremony was held during the Founder’s Day celebration in Dumaguete City in August, 2011.
My sincere gratitude to all Sillimanians and Alumni Chapters who have made this project a reality.  Kudos to the members of the University Student Center Project committee for their hard work, dedication, and support.  DAGHANG SALAMAT KANINYONG TANAN.
Loyal will we be to Silliman!
Zenaida Duran Bennett
Chairperson, SUACONA (2009-2011)
Chairman, University Student Center Project Committee
To view a Slide Show on the University Student Center Project, click on either: