“The Ateneo de Davao University is a Filipino, Catholic, and Jesuit University that is inspired by the person and teaching of Jesus, rooted in the spirituality of St. Ignatius, and true to the humanistic tradition of Jesuit Education. It is responsive to the challenges and needs of the country today, particularly in Southern Philippines, through its work in the educational formation of the youth and professionals.” (ADDU Vision)
Are we truly the “men and women for others” we picture ourselves to be? Internalizing the vision of the Ateneo de Davao University, we find that it is easy to accept as true the adjectives we use in describing the University and ourselves in the Ateneo community. We can profess to be Filipino, Catholic, and Jesuit University that is inspired by the person and teaching of Jesus, rooted in the spirituality of St. Ignatius, and true to the humanistic tradition of Jesuit Education. The second claim in the above-written ADDU vision, however, is much more difficult to ascertain. Hence, the need to establish ADDU’s social engagement through a self-survey. The Research and Publication Office (RPO) of the University is tasked by the ADDU Board of Trustees to do a study entitled, “MAGIS: Inventory of Social Involvement Initiatives of Individual ADDU Faculty and Divisions.” The objectives of which are: (1) to document, in a systematic form, the initiatives of individual faculty members that touch on social issues, concerns of the marginalized sectors, improving the lives of communities, strengthening democratic institutions, working for peace and justice, formulation of development plan, defending human rights, advocacy for gender mainstreaming, protection of the environment, writing more relevant theology, doing action research, and the like; (2) to include similar work initiated by some divisions, schools, units, and programs.
Fr. Albert E. Alejo, SJ, RPO Director writes in the MAGIS Survey cover letter to all members of the University:
"Despite the lack of official and institutional base for the ADDU’s direct social involvement, there seems to be no dearth of personal initiatives among individual faculty members as well as voluntary outreach programs of various divisions. We hear about some teachers forming cooperatives in their neighborhood, pursuing community work with villages visited by students during exposure programs, volunteering for advocacy work for marginalized sectors, raising and managing funds for scholarships of poor deserving students, running conferences touching on Mindanao issues, training local government officials, joining environmental movements, and others.
There is need to document these initiatives. At the minimum, they may serve as exemplars for what Jesuit pedagogy calls “magis,” the generosity to do more for the greater service of the faith and the promotion of justice. When compiled, these initiatives would reflect the degree of internalization and externalization of the Ateneo spirit.” In documenting these initiatives, we may be able to locate how and where the members Ateneo community have responded to the challenges and needs of our country starting with our own locality. The findings may also give us learnings that can be discussed in order to help us create, direct, or strengthen the Extension Program – a must for the Ateneo de Davao University.