UnionBank’s student interns design social sustainability projects during pandemic

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Union Bank of the Philippines (UnionBank)’s Go Beyond Communities Program produced two purely digital corporate social responsibility initiatives designed by its student interns who aim to help fellow students struggling with virtual learning and jeepney drivers who lost income because of the pandemic.

What started out as conversation topic has led to a design thinking workshop that allowed a motley crew of young UnionBankers to fully develop purely digital corporate social responsibility projects, now fully launched as Ad Astra per Aspera and UBP PasaHERO, under the auspices of Go Beyond Communities, the employee volunteerism program of the bank.

Ad Astra per Aspera is a youth-focused online support initiative that assists students from various colleges and universities from Luzon as they shift from traditional schooling to the virtual mode of learning when classes resume this year. An essential component of Ad Astra is the support network aimed at shaping up mental wellness via online conversations with experts from the Youth for Mental Health Coalition and professors of psychology from the University of Sto. Tomas.

Meanwhile, UBP PasaHERO uses UnionBank’s digital platform to raise funds for the jeepney drivers in the national capital region who lost their source of income when strict quarantine measures were implemented. UnionBank’s subsidiary UBX has an e-commerce platform and online shop-builder called Sentro, which was used by the volunteers to run an online selling campaign as well as an online garage sale to raise funds that have so far benefited three drivers’ associations in Quezon City. The campaign continues on social media and targets to raise more funds for the other jeepney drivers in Manila.

“Pasahero is a good initiative where my time and talent could help our community of jeepney drivers. Truly, their livelihood has been greatly affected by this pandemic. I’ve been wanting to extend help to them and was unsure how until I saw the UBP Pasahero call for volunteers,” said Car Rigo, one of the employee volunteers who agreed to donate proceeds from baking, her new found hobby during the community quarantine.

Nico Lozano, one of the student interns, expressed fulfillment about his internship experience in UnionBank.

“Truly, we got a taste of the UnionBank DNA, culture and core values. I learned so many things and not just the technical aspects of our on-the-job training. Being able to leave a positive impact on the lives of fellow students is a fulfilling experience, one that made me feel good about myself and one that I will remember even after my internship,” he said.

The HR Group is administering a Student Mentorship Program that is adapted to the virtual way of working during the pandemic. This year’s student interns are assigned to their respective units with a mentor to facilitate their learning experience, including designing and implementing a Go Beyond Communities project, which empowers them to innovate on a social sustainability initiative using digital technology and innovation.

“We are delighted that our young UnionBankers are bringing to life the Bank’s sustainability commitment to co-create innovations for a better world by pursuing innovative corporate social responsibility projects that uplift the lives of people and elevate communities especially during this health crisis,” said Dave Devilles, head of sustainability, CSR and employee relations at UnionBank.

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