BSU at 100: Celebrating a century of existence and excellence
Before Benguet State University envisioned being a premier university delivering world-class education, it was a farm school dedicated to highlanders.
The farm school which opened in 1916, widened its horizon and began catering to students of nearby provinces. Eventually, it has also accepted foreign students.
Apart from its academic purpose, the university boosted its existence in initiating and developing worthwhile technologies. The researches of the university have been recognized because of its contribution to the improvement of the sciences and the arts. As BSU is strategically located in the municipality of La Trinidad, the university has reached out to community stakeholders through its extension programs. The presence of processed products and highland crops of the university established its various income projects.
This is the journey and the success being commemorated in the two-year celebration of BSU’s Centennial Foundation Anniversary with the theme “Going Global: the Centennial Challenge.”
The celebration began in January of 2016 with the groundbreaking ceremony of the Centennial Park, the BSU Government Employees Association Farm to Forest Run. It was followed by the Regional Festival of Football in February 2016. The activities lined up for the following months include the: Launching of Environmental Activities on August 15, Staking the BSU highway boundary with 100 BSU Centennial Flags on August 22 and Opening of BSU Alumni Association Activities on August 27.
For September, the other activities are: Environmental Science Week Celebration, University Tree Planting at Tawang, La Trinidad, Benguet on September 2, Seminar-Workshop on Ecowaste Management on the 2nd Week September, Planting of Everlasting Flowers on September 1-31, Kapihan sa BSU on September 20, Centennial Tour on September 27, Opening activities on September 28, Community Jamboree at BSU on September 27-30, and the BSU History Stage Play on September 30.
In October, lined up activities include Centennial Fun Run on October 2, Book Fair on October 5-7, Centennial Teachers Day on October 5, Conference on Indigenous Knowledge Systems and Practices on October 6-7, Lecture Series: Forestry and Natural Resource (Part 1) on the 4th Week, and the Centennial Inter-Employees Sports Festival.
As for November, events are: Training on Environmental Modeling, Seminar on Hazardous Wastes on the 2nd week, Recognized Student Organization Exhibits on November 7-11, Technology Caravan: Community Jamboree in Tublay on November 16-20 and in Kabayan on November 24-27,
The year-end celebration in December includes Launching of Academic Festival in celebration of Education Week on December 9, Ground Demo on December 5, and Lecture Series: Forestry and Natural Resource (Part 2) on 2nd Week of December and Christmas Carols on December 16. The university has also prepared activities for 2017.
Birthing in September
For the past years, the University has been commemorating its foundation as an educational institution in June. However, the reference to June 1916 as a foundation month for Benguet State University has been discovered not to be the case as shown by historical documents.
Dr. Stanley F. Anongos of the BSU History Committee presented four historical documents pointing to September as the month when BSU was founded. These documents are: the Halsema Collection found in Delos Reyes’ dissertation, which puts September 1916 as the foundation of a Trinidad Farm School; Nicomedes Alipit’s article on the history of Trinidad National Agricultural School found in From G-Strings to Modern Pants, published in 1951, where he uses September 1916 as the beginning of the school; Chronology of events found in the Foundation Day program paper of MNAS in 1951 placing September 1916 as the start of Trinidad Farm School; and Lucio B. Victor’s sabbatical paper entitled “Benguet State University: From a Farm School to a University” where he puts the date as September 1.
The first students
In 1916, the Bureau of Agriculture transferred its Trinidad Experiment Station to the Bureau of Education. This paved the way to the establishment of a Farm School that accommodated grade five students of the Baguio Industrial School or BIS (now the Baguio City National High School) for their gardening classes.
BIS, before 1916, only offered courses in woodworking, carpentry and cabinet-making in its intermediate program. With land now available at the Farm School to demonstrate scientific farming, gardening was required for the incoming grade five students of BIS. The availability of a space at La Trinidad occasioned the creation of the Trinidad Agricultural School (TAS) in 1917 and the intermediate program of BIS was transferred into this new school. This explains the huge number of TAS enrollees in the same year because the whole grades five to seven were transferred to this new school. Two Filipino teachers managed the school during its first year of operation.
Since then, as the TAS went through various transformations over the years to become the Benguet State University, it became the alma mater of pioneers in different fields. Some of these alumni are Bado Dangwa who founded North Luzon’s first transportation corporation in 1928, Narda Capuyan who brought Benguet’s hand-woven products to the international scene, and William D. Dar who became the first Filipino to lead the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics. Gerard A. Finin in his book titled, “The Making of the Igorots” stated that the school also played a key role in shaping the thinking of thousands of young highlanders, men and women, and in giving birth to an Igorot intelligentsia that would come to form a vocal social and political highlander elite. At present, BSU receives an average enrollment of 10,000 students per year.
100 years and counting…
True to its commitment of quality service, BSU lived up to its four-fold mandates of instruction, research, extension and production. It continues to provide quality and accessible education with its in-school and distance learning degree programs. The university’s outstanding researches and extension programs still continue to address current issues that help various stakeholders in their way of life.
The Income Generating Projects (IGPs) of BSU has contributed to the tourism industry of Benguet. Every year, BSU receives an average of 10,000 local and international visitors who come to BSU seeking BSU’s strawberry products, bromate-free breads, organic herbs and vegetables among others.
With its various achievements, Benguet State University takes on the challenge of putting itself in the global map for the next century and beyond.**Rocky Ngalob