“CompSAt really was like family at that time. We knew almost every member, and wanted to reach out to each of them and make them feel at home,” said Melody Carolino, CompSAt President, SY 2009-2010. “CompSAt was also helpful in building relationships with other batches and even other courses. I found friends through hanging out at the org room and through org events. Most friendships extended even after graduation.”
Jansen Ignacio, Executive Vice President (EVP), SY 2013-2014, also said, “We would also play random video games, or jam and sing [in the org room] even if our voices weren’t that great. It just felt like home, a place where we could be who we were and do what we want.”
Officially, CompSAt envisions itself as a community of Ateneans driven to improve the quality of lives through a common passion for Information Technology (IT). The organization’s mission is to seek to learn IT through seminars and trainings; to use IT by rendering services to individuals and organizations inside and outside of the Ateneo community; and to share IT through tutorials and outreach programs while promoting camaraderie and teamwork through interaction and exchange of ideas. It is the home organization of Computer Science majors, but is open to all who are willing to join.
Well, that was a mouthful. These words make it seem like CompSAt is an organization that is all work but no fun. The reality, however, is quite different.
Let us go back to the beginning.
When was CompSAt first established?
“Gosh[,] I cannot remember either. I do know that CompSAt was started by students from ME [Management Engineering],” Jansen Ignacio replied. Ms. Jessica Sugay, Moderator of the organization, said that CompSAt existed back when she was a first year student in Ateneo, which was in the year 2000. Stefanie Valencia, CompSAt President, SY 2011-2012, gave a more concrete date. “If I recall correctly, CompSAt was supposed to turn 18 in 2010, so I guess it was established around 1992.”
CompSAt was originally based on two organizations: Ateneo Society for Computer Information Interchange (ASCII), which was composed of Computer Science majors, and Ateneo Computer Society (ACS), which was formed by Management Engineering students. Back then, the officers of the organizations realized that they practically had the same goals. It didn’t take long for them to decide to combine the two organizations into one. Thus, the Computer Society of the Ateneo was born.
CompSAt went through a lot of trials after its establishment. It even got dissolved for some time. Back in School Year 2002-2003, though, the Third Year CS students revived the organization. During this time, CompSAt’s current Moderator, Ms. Jessica Sugay, had been both a witness and a participant of this revival. Ma’am Jess joined CompSAt when she was in Third Year and became part of the Associates Council then, doing work similar to CompSAt’s current AVP for Documentation. In Fourth Year, she became the Secretary-General.
Before, CompSAt didn’t have core teams for each project, nor were there any departments; the member base wasn’t quite so large. Instead, they had committees. Each committee had a specific range of tasks assigned to them. At one point, there was a even a Special Operations (SpecOps) committee. If a task didn’t fit in any of the existing committees, it would be given to SpecOps. “SpecOps was CompSAt’s way of handling everything else. If CompSAt had a project that didn’t fit into any of the other committees, it was given to SpecOps,” said Miguel Andres, former AVP for SpecOps. “The committee had a wide variety of projects, and understandably, it was easy to mismanage resources.” And so, the officers decided to restructure CompSAt’s whole system.
SpecOps was abolished and new departments and sub-departments were created. That was when the Executive Board and Associates Council’s (EB+AC) branding was made official. Now, the whole restructuring could be reduced to two statements. Back then, things weren’t that easy. The changes planned were difficult to implement. “There was a lot of fighting and disagreeing. There were even impeachments. It was hectic, it was tedious, but it was all a lot of fun,” Andres remarked. But these hardships were worth it. The SpecOps projects ended up in what is now External Affairs. “[B]ut because External still seemed a little too broad, we had to distinguish between outside of CompSAt, but still within Ateneo, and outside Ateneo entirely. Coming up with EA’s sub-departments is what brought about the whole push for sub-departments in all the other departments.” To this day, CompSAt is composed of 6 departments, each having their own sub-departments.
CompSAt has had many flagship projects throughout the years.
In the early 2000’s, most of CompSAt’s projects were Information Technology Forums and Tutorials. These events were open to all students of the Ateneo. The Information Technology Tutorials have evolved into the CS and Web Development Tutorials, and the Forums then became what is now known as the Information Technology Conference.
The other projects were big events that usually involved other organizations or departments in the school. Before, Freshmen would choose the food they wanted to eat during OrSem, and this was then referred to as Orsem Food Reg. This was set up like the manual registration during enrollment, and CompSAt was in charge of it. Another huge project was the Alternative Class Program (ACP) Week. During this week, students were encouraged to take an alternative class that has nothing to do with academics. CompSAt was, again, responsible for the student’s registration; they had CDs with an interactive class catalog using Flash that included each student’s unique username and password. Ma’am Jess, being the SecGen at that time, served as the Web and Registration Head for the ACP Week project.
The Geek Shirt Sale, a sale of shirts with witty and geeky taglines or designs, is quite a recent thing. It was an idea of Melody Carolino, CompSAt President, SY 2009-2010. “It was during our batch that we had the first Geek Shirt Sale! We literally had to scour for affordable printing. I remember carrying bundles of shirts along Katipunan, riding a cab, and transporting them home to get them printed on by my neighbor. It was a very successful initiative—we earned lots of money even [though there were still shirts left unsold]! What [was] cool was that the following year, we were even able to develop the idea and held a Geek Shirt Design Contest. I still get giddy whenever I see someone wearing a Geek Shirt.” Currently, CompSAt still holds the annual shirt design contest. Meanwhile, Geek Shirt Sale has its own website, offering various geeky shirt designs.
CompSAt Week is another huge project of CompSAt. Melody Carolino said, “The representation of everything that my EB+AC worked on during my term as President was that CompSAt [W]eek (2009). It was the time when we said ‘HELLO WORLD’ to the Ateneo. What used to be a tiny org became known to the community. We had an exhibit at Colayco [Pavilion], people playing Rockband, a cool org shirt, and a very long line to get free Windows 7. What made me really happy though was that lots of members volunteered to help out to make that week happen. It was at that moment that I realized that we can do it. We can make a difference as an org.” Jansen Ignacio was also one of the Project Heads of the event in 2013, and he considered it as the project he enjoyed handling the most. “I was one of the Co-Project Heads of CompSAt Week when I was a Junior. We started planning months before the event. Logistically, I think we were prepared more than a month before the event. Jeppie (my Co-Project Head) and I really worked hard to iron out the details of the project. It wasn’t perfect, but it was the most fulfilling project I handled.”
The Sportsfest, now known as Clash of the Clans, aimed to test the physical capacities of CompSAt members. The students are divided into teams and play against one another in various sports activities like basketball and volleyball. “I enjoyed Sportsfest activities since it promoted camaraderie and sportsmanship within the organization. It also shows the other side of CS students, that we’re not just in front of our laptops working or playing games,” Stefanie Valencia said regarding the event. Meanwhile, Jansen Ignacio remarked accordingly, It’s just fun to go and play sports with your friends.”
In 2012, CompSAt and Ateneo Management Information Systems Association (MISA) collaborated on a project named Tag Team. It included DISCS Appreciation Day, Tambay Week, Sportsfest, and Grill Night.
DISCS Appreciation Day is an event dedicated to awarding faculty and staff members of DISCS for all their work and service to students (and, of course, there was free food). Grill Night was an all-you-can-eat event at the price of Php 100, given that the students grill the food themselves.
ROFL, previously known as Yummiest Bytes, is one project that has garnered a lot of attention (and money). Everyone in the Ateneo community can join in and buy tickets to increase their chances of winning awesome gadgets and other treats.
The CompSAt Experience
Joyce Ann Rada, Vice President for Internal Affairs (IA), SY 2011-2012 said something that encapsulated one of the main goals of CompSAt for its members: “During our time, we officers focused more on member formation and development. One of our goals was to increase the participation in the organization. We really wanted to make the members feel that they actually belong that’s why we focused more on member formation by improving the package system.”
Throughout its history (and to the present), CompSAt aims to bond members and help them grow. Some alumni shared their most memorable CompSAt experiences:
Melody Carolino, CompSAt President, SY 2009-2010, and currently a Project Manager at Hewlett Packard Enterprise, recounted,
“CompSAt during my time (2006 to 2010) was like family! Before the Research Lab [F-223], we used to hang out almost everyday at the org room. I enjoyed randomly playing games, singing, eating, dancing, and having chikahan and kulitan with orgmates . . . I thank God for CompSAt because it helped me to get closer to my block. Being in the same org and doing the same activities was so helpful to enhance our friendships. It was also awesome that I got to lead the EB with most of my blockmates in it. We were placed in the EB at a tough time (CompSAt was on probation) so it felt like a Glee moment. CompSAt really was like family at that time. We knew almost every member, and wanted to reach out to each of them and make them feel at home. During my Senior Year, I wanted to do nothing else but just do org stuff. That’s how much I got attached to CompSAt. I look back at some of my old files and photos and I still get giddy whenever I remember the good old days. When I look back at college life, it’s really the whole CompSAt experience that stands out the most.”
Jansen Ignacio, Executive Vice President (EVP), SY 2013-2014, and currently a Software Engineer at Azeus Systems Philippines Limited, reminisced,
“The most memorable moments I had was of being an officer. I guess not a lot of people will be able to relate with it, but I really learned and grew a lot in my time as an officer. The EB+AC of the org usually goes out of town before the semester starts to plan for the months ahead, as well as to bond with each other. These were the most fun times I had with the org. Other than that, I think just hanging out in the org room every day, even if it’s hot [as hell] in there. We would study for our exams, do our homework, and code our projects there. ”
Miguel Andres, Associate Vice President of SpecOps, and currently a Ph.D. Student in Cognitive Studies at Columbia University in New York, remarked,
“I’m going to sound like a broken record here, but [the project that I deem most special, enjoyed the most, and the one that caught people’s attention] was probably the restructuring. It was special because it became our legacy. We made this big (at least in our eyes) change happen, and it endures until today. Forming friendships across year levels wasn’t as fluid before as it is now. I think having to endure that huge change together bonded us both as an Executive Board [and Associates Council] and as friends. I’m still really good friends now with a bunch of those guys.”
Joyce Ann Rada, Vice President for Internal Affairs, SY 2011-2012, and currently an Application Consultant for a French bank, recalled,
“One of my favorite projects of the Package System was the Gear Hunt. Officers would stick gear stickers all over Ateneo from Faura walls to trees and even trash bins. It was really fun, whenever we see someone inspecting odd places we already know that they’re CompSAt members. So if you’re going to ask me which project I deemed special, for me it will be the IA projects because it bonds the members, CS or non-CS. Overall my CompSAt experience played a big role in who I am today, I wouldn’t survive my college life if not for this org and my orgmates. It will always be a memory worth reminiscing every now and then.”
Stefanie Valencia, CompSAt President, SY 2011-2012, and currently a Technology Consultant at Hewlett-Packard Enterprise, remembered,
“My best memories must have been those bonding moments we have in the org room. There was a point that CompSAt members had to sit along the corridors of MVP since there wasn’t any space inside the room anymore. A lot of memorable moments happened there as well. Did you know that the wall of the room was destroyed twice during my stay in Ateneo?”
Message from Ma’am Jess
Ms. Jessica Sugay, fondly called Ma’am Jess, has been the CompSAt Moderator since 2006. It will be her eleventh year this 2016-2017. She admits that CompSAt has encountered great changes throughout the years. But has it stayed true to its goals?
“Things evolve. So you can’t really say that what we would’ve wanted … back then, is still the same as what you would want now. I mean, that’s just not fair. Because one, the technology has changed very rapidly. The needs of society have already changed, the needs of the students also rapidly change. I wouldn’t say that we’re so far off that we’ve lost our identity, it’s just that, just like any person, your identity evolves. And so, even if you might be far or different from what you might have envisioned before, it’s not necessarily a bad thing.”
“I’ve always maintained that I’m not bothered if there are 70 CompSAt members rather than 210, because those 70 people I can take—we can take care of, spot on, rather than thinly being spread out to so many. But I mean, you make do with what you have. So, yes, the greatness of the numbers is great, but the quality might suffer. You can’t please everyone, and you can’t get everyone involved, so you have to be satisfied or content, with what you can get, and reap the benefits or the fruits of what’s proportional to the effort that you gave.”
CompSAt has been the home of IT-loving individuals for several years. Through different activities and projects, CompSAt has united its members and contributed to their overall growth. To its members, the organization has offered friendships that last well beyond graduation, valuable experiences in the field of IT, happy and poignant memories to look back on, and more. In return, the members continue the CompSAt legacy, fulfilling its mission and hoping it helps future generations of members.
Each member will leave their footprints and handprints on every project. Each member is crucial to the future of the organization. And although their names may not be explicitly mentioned in the annals of CompSAt’s history, the effects of their hard work and participation linger in every activity, in every project, in every CompSAt experience.
Juniors as Presidents
Did you know that, for some time, CompSAt’s President was a junior? “I think it only started because when we ‘resurrected’ it, we were Juniors, and it made sense to not have to be President when you have to do thesis, when you have to do practicum, stuff like that,” Ma’am Jess explained. “After a few years, we realized it’s also a disadvantage. Because when you’re in COA (Council of the Organizations of the Ateneo) , or when you’re in what is now STC (Science and Technology Cluster), which was then something else… hindi ka maka-relate, kasi lahat nung ibang President, Senior. So, si CompSAt President. … Kulang yung experience niya.”
President being an MIS major
Ma’am Jess mentioned that there was a year when the CompSAt President was an Management Information Systems (MIS) major. “And we said, ‘Is this going to be a problem? Are we going to have to fight for it?’ But you know, it is what it is, and he [was] the best person for the job that year.”
Wildcard Short History
Wildcard used to be printed and was an actual newsletter. Here is a sample from 2011. However, it was not called Wildcard back then. It was only coined as “Wildcard” when it was moved online. (Source: Ma’am Jess)
CompSAt Gear Photos: (https://www.facebook.com/compsat/photos?source_ref=pb_friends_tl) [15 May 2016]
CompSAt Projects: (http://projects.compsat.org/) [15 May 2016]
CompSAt SpecOps ‘08-’09: (https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/compsat_specops0809/info) [15 May 2016]
Computer Society of the Ateneo ¤: (https://www.facebook.com/CompSAteneo/?fref=ts) [15 May 2016]
MISA & CompSAt: Tag Team: (https://www.facebook.com/MISACompSAt.TagTeam/timeline) [15 May 2016]
Wildcard: (http://wildcard.compsat.org/) [15 May 2016]
Yummiest Bytes: CompSAt Annual Raffle Draw: