Guest blog: Using Campus Tours to spread Drupal in the Philippines

Gemma Rose Devanadera (Dublan) is a Freelance Web Developer with expertise in Drupal development and Agile development. A mother of 3 kids, she is active in organizing Drupal community events in the Philippines, having spearheaded the Drupal Pilipinas community since 2012. She loves mentoring people and inspiring young volunteers to become active in the community.

Gem is a 2003 graduate of AB Political Science at Arellano University, and is currently studying project management and marketing strategy. You can connect with her on Twitter as @GemDevanadera.

What is the Campus Tour?

The Campus Tour is like a roadshow and a seminar type of event. Recently, because of the demands of learning and interest in Drupal, our roadmap was changed from just doing the seminar for a whole day event to a half-day seminar and a half-day Drupal tutorial  that encompasses both the students, faculties and the IT administrations people of the schools. Drupal Pilipinas is a 2013 Community Cultivation Grant recipient of $750 USD, which helped make the project possible and allowed for outreach to a wide variety of schools and universities across the nation.  

Basically, the first Campus Tour was merely just a seminar. When Drupal Pilipinas started to reach out to different universities and colleges all around the Philippines, though, we have met so many needs that we can offer to the campus audience including training, support, mentorship program for both students and faculties, and career coaching for students.

Who else is involved with it? (Individuals, corporate support, government or other organizations?)

Basically it was us--the Drupal Pilipinas volunteers and mentors. Because of the Campus Tours events that have spread all over the community now, Microsoft Philippines has been our partners who provided us the venue and the freebies for participants for our events. Also, they provide WIFI Access now for the training needs.

Mozilla Philippines is a local community partner too, with Phil IT organization, Swiftsure Group, JOb and Esthers Technology, Smart Devnet, Globe Labs, Exist Group, Cloud Pinoy. We are soon to partner with other LGU’s Region 4 groups, UP Diliman, Lorma College, Bulacan State University, AMA University, DLSU Taft, Aklan State University, John B Lacson University, National University, and other small private companies.

What gave you and the other community leaders the idea to do this?

Actually this is the result of too much Starbucks, hehe, just kidding. I am the author of this idea, I learned that other groups have been doing it so why can’t we? But there is something lack on what they do in the roadshow, and I believe that the Drupal community would be able to handle it if we just work all together. At first I was a bit scared to my first attempt, because it was all just my plan but I am a risk taker sometimes and I am not afraid to do things because I trust those people around me that we can do it.

I have seen that there is a need for us to reach out those students in the campus audience to know about the open source technology, especially Drupal. And by doing the Campus Tour we can reach out to them and introduce them to the technology and encourage them not only to be active in the Drupal community but also to support other open source groups.

What kind of feedback have you gotten from participants?

From the first Campus Tours that we had it was just testing the water first but at least we tried to reach them out, and it was not bad. Then with the second Campus Tour and up to the present Campus Tours that we had recently in Bulacan State University, all of them were very happy and proud to tell us about how they learned so much from the trainings and seminars.

That is why we are trying to finish the website in order to put all the testimonial of our partners and Campus Tours attendees feedbacks for all of our roadshows. 

How do you think this program benefits, or could benefit, the people and communities involved?

This project will surely help the students to learn about Drupal technology, that this tool was amazing and they can learn so many things from managing their basic website up to the complex one. Faculties will also learn from this. If they became involved in the Drupal community they will get training, support, and resources from us which will enhance the way they teach students in the IT courses. It will open their eyes that there are so many open source technologies that they can use freely, and easy without spending too much money on it.

If we engage both the student and faculties to the Campus Tour and it would be regularly every year we might be able to establish a small chapter or group inside the campuses that will handle the next event properly for drupal trainings. Also one more thing, skills that will be added to them by the means of training, mentorship program that they will have in the community will equip them all in their IT career since Drupal is not only about Drupal but also recognizes PHP, javascript, jQuery, module development, theming, and now Symfony. It will help them to have additional IT skills and if they are passionate or interested to join the community later and contribute back then the community will have more contributors in the many fields.

What’s next for the Campus Tour?

After Campus Tour...Course Material project for the schools that are requesting us for some help over Drupal installation guidelines. Because most of the Schools now wanted to include Drupal in their Curriculum, one example is AUF Angeles University in Pampanga which officially made Drupal as part of their ACAD curriculum for 2013-2014, and Lorma College, AKlan State U, and AMA University all branches the leading IT School in the Philippines.

Next projects:

  • Drupal Trainings for private and government sectors in Manila, first including LGU and small private companies

  • IT Summit Conference in partnership with National University at SM Manila Mall Activity center on June 27, 2013

  • IT Summit Conference for Region 4a at the Lyceum of the Philippines on August 30, 2013 in partnership with lyceum of the philippines.

  • Drupal Camp Boracay 2014

Is there a site where people can go to learn more?

Yes there is now, Last year we don’t have yet, but this time the community is working together to finish the site and this is another project because the people who are doing the site now are all young Volunteers and some developers.

The site will encompass all the Drupal users group in the Philippines including Manila, Cebu, ILoIlo, Davao, Gensan, Aklan, Boracay, Mindanao and Baguio. The site will have all the complete list of Drupal members, along with video tutorials and slides, Q and A, community, Gallery, Events, Sponsors and partners, Blogs, Job post, projects, and sign-up form for volunteers in every event, and of course membership registration page.

We are hoping to finish this soon and we from the Drupal Pilipinas are very proud of becoming part of the Drupal Association Community . We are hoping to continue this advocacy and pass it on through generations to generations.

The Drupal Pilipinas site can be found at http://www.drupalpilipinas.org/