Shaping a Sustainable Future


[Twelfth in a series: Valedictory addresses from the different colleges of the University of Northern Philippines are here featured as excellent graduates reflect on the journey behind them and as they forward to the next.]

Jeric C. Alcantara’s valedictory address at the graduation ceremony of the College of Architecture was a stirring call to action for the next generation of environmental planners. As magna cum laude graduate of the pioneer class of the BS Environmental Planning program, Alcantara’s words carried the weight of immense achievement and a deep understanding of the challenges facing our world.

“Today marks a significant milestone in our lives,” Alcantara began, his voice brimming with pride and purpose. “It is a moment where years of hard work, late nights, and relentless dedication culminate in this celebration of our achievements.”

Alcantara went on to eloquently capture the essence of the environmental planning profession, describing it as a “vocation that blends creativity with practicality, vision with detail, and passion with responsibility.” This sentiment echoed throughout his address, as he urged his fellow graduates to see the world not just as it is, but as it could be.

The gravitas of their new responsibilities was not lost on Alcantara. “In our hands, the future of our cities, our communities, and our planet is entrusted,” he declared. “This is a significant responsibility.” He acknowledged the daunting challenges of climate change, urban sprawl, environmental degradation, and social inequality, but found hope in the incredible opportunities for innovation, leadership, and positive change.

Alcantara’s confidence in the abilities of his peers was palpable. “We are uniquely equipped to tackle these issues,” he asserted. “Our education has armed us with the technical skills, knowledge, and critical thinking abilities necessary to devise innovative solutions.” But beyond the technical mastery, Alcantara emphasized the importance of ethical considerations and a deep sense of compassion in their work.

Looking to the future, Alcantara’s vision was both ambitious and inspiring. He called on his fellow graduates to “envision a future where our cities are not just places to live, but ecosystems that thrive, where buildings are not just structures, but living entities that breathe and evolve with their inhabitants, and where planning is not just about land use, but about creating equitable, resilient, and vibrant communities.”

Alcantara’s parting words were a testament to the transformative power of education and the unwavering support of mentors, peers, and loved ones. “Let us carry with us the lessons learned from our mentors, the camaraderie shared with our peers, and the unwavering support of our families,” he said. “Let us remain curious, always eager to learn and adapt in a world that is constantly evolving.”

With their talent, knowledge, and passion, these environmental planners are poised to shape a better world, one that reflects the best of human potential and respects the delicate balance of our natural surroundings.


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