Spanning over 6 decades of delivering quality education to residents of Lipa City and its environs, Lipa City Colleges has not just been a premier provider of tertiary education but it has also always been an organization imbued with social consciousness. Not to turn a blind eye on the plight and hardship that some sectors in the society could be facing, LCC has always made it a point to reach out constantly and on occasions. Through the years, it has come up with scholarship programs that enable financially-constrained students to avail of the gift of higher education. Not limiting itself to this area, LCC has likewise periodically extended charity works such as medical missions, short-term trainings, and gift-giving in coordination with both government and non-government organizations.
In recent times, however, the administration has realized that if LCC is to really effect positive social transformation not just through the quality education that it provides but also through its outreach activities, it must then have a comprehensive extension program focused on just one or a few communities. Such a program must be one based on the identified needs of the community, implemented for a specific range of time, and must be founded on specific desired outcomes.
With this in mind, the Vice President for External Affairs, Beverly M. Mendoza, via a memorandum, formed the Office of the Alumni and Community Affairs and appointed the then Alumni Director, Dr. Lolita M. Amargo as its Head. The office was tasked to come up with an institutional extension program, and thus, the institutionís Social Orientation and Community Extension Program (SOCEP) was formed. A multi-representational group, SOCEP, through the collaborative efforts of the Deans, faculty and staff members, and student representatives, set forth to search its first adopted barangay. After a series of organizational meetings and consultations with the locals, Sto. Toribio, a sitio in Marauoy, Lipa City, was chosen as the institutionís first recipient of outreach activities via a Five year-Memorandum of Agreement (MOA). Throughout the duration (2003 Ė 2008), needs-based developmental programs were implemented one after the other.
By the end of School Year 2006 Ė 2007, SOCEP has decided to make its extension services more far reaching by increasing the number of its adopted communities. This, as the institutionís MOA with Sitio Sto. Toribio was coming to a close. After a series of consultations and surveys, the following were chosen as the barangays for departmental adoptions: Brgy. Bulaklakan (to be adopted by the Business Education and Accountancy departments), Brgy. San Salvador (Criminology and Education, Villa San Jose (Nursing and Computer Studies), Brgy. San Jose (High School), and Brgy. Pag-olingin Bata (Hospitality Management). The initial MOA for each of these barangays was for a three-year period and it was understood that while the outreach programs have been departmentalized, each of these departments shall be helping each other out to meet the needs of the adopted communities. During a mid-year evaluation of the status of the departmental outreach activities, SOCEP Officers and the Academic Council came up with a consensus that the school is having difficulties in sustaining its resources to sustain its activities for its adopted barangays. This was also the observation of the Philippine Association of Colleges and Universities Commission on Accreditation (PACUCOA) when it held its Preliminary Visit for Level 1 Accredited Status of the Accountancy, Criminology, Hospitality Management, and Nursing departments. These observations and evaluation considered, the institution decided to choose from among the five adopted communities which it shall have as institutionally-adopted community. As per recommendation of SOCEP representatives based on the response and cooperation of the adopted communities, Brgy. San Salvador was the one chosen. The three-year MOA was consequently changed to a five-year Developmental Plan from 2007 Ė 2012 while the activities for the four remaining barangays were wrapped up after due notice.
Midway in its partnership with San Salvador, SOCEP has gotten headway in terms of providing sustainable livelihood activities to the residents while still being able to address the needs of the community in the areas of education / awareness, health, and environmental sanitation. In terms of its structural organization, SOCEP has likewise become more encompassing as it elicited a more active participation from not only from the faculty members but from staff representatives and students as well. It has also been quite fortunate in having the Alumni Association as a very supportive partner in its developmental efforts.
Acknowledging that research is a valuable source of relevant and useful information, SOCEP has likewise fortified a stronger partnership with the institutionís Research and Development Office and the different departments so that community-directed thrusts and outputs may be realized.
SOCEPís future prospects include a continued relevant extension service, strengthening its research thrusts, and establishing partnerships / linkages to noteworthy agencies.