After three years: UST welcomes Thomasians on campus

For the first time in three years, the University of Santo Tomas welcomed freshmen on campus for the traditional Thomasian Welcome Walk on August 9, 2022.

For the past 20 years, since 2002, thousands of Thomasian freshmen have walked through and entered the University through the historic Arch of the Centuries at the beginning of each academic year to symbolize the beginning of their Thomasian life.

During the onset of the pandemic, traditions such as the Thomasian Welcome Walk were creatively adapted online using Minecraft as a virtual platform, recreating the Manila campus on its own server. However, this year, the 411-year-old University was ready to showcase its premises and culture to new Tigers in-person for the first time since 2019 through a week-long onboarding season, from August 3 (Wednesday) to August 10 (Wednesday).

The said onboarding activities allowed stakeholders to be introduced to UST’s context and culture.

Academic Year 2022-2023 officially opened with the Misa de Apertura (Mass of the Holy Spirit) on August 4, presided over by His Excellency Most Rev. Mylo Hubert C. Vergara, D.D., Bishop of Pasig and Vice President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, and the Discurso de Apertura (Inaugural Lecture), which was delivered by Prof. Clarita DL. Carillo, Ph.D., Assistant to the Rector for Planning and Quality Management.

Tigers’ First Steps on Campus

Thomasians are known as “Tigers”, and fittingly, the new Tigers who stepped foot onto the historic Manila campus learned to roar as one through the in-person ROARientation on August 9 at the Quadricentennial Pavilion (QPav) Arena. Divided into the A.M. and P.M. batches, the freshmen joined the Welcome Mass, learned about the University’s history, culture, services, and sports team chants, among others, before finally entering the Arch of the Centuries via the Thomasian Welcome Walk.

The University also welcomed home second- and third-year students of the higher education cluster and the Grades 8, 9, and 12 classes through a similar event named “Homecoming Walk” on August 23 and 25. These batches began their Thomasian lives online and were only able to join the virtual version of these events in previous academic years since the pandemic and its subsequent community quarantine periods began in early 2020.

On August 10, ALAB 2022, an in-person orientation for the Basic Education Freshmen under the UST Senior High School, Junior High School, and Education High School, was held at the QPav Arena.

Prior to the on campus ROARientation and ALAB, a separate virtual orientation for students was conducted on August 5. Through the Cloud Campus, a talk show hosted by the Assistant to the Director for Public Affairs Ms. Michaella Lagniton informed students about UST’s library services, counseling services, student welfare and development, educational technology, facilities management, health services, and functions of the other University offices.

Remaining vigilant on the protection of the Thomasian community from COVID-19, the University’s health policies – such as presentation of vaccination cards, health declaration via Stay Safe.PH application or the Thomasian Online Medical Services and Support (ThOMedSS) website, wearing of masks, frequent hand sanitization, and thermal screening, among others – remain mandatory.

Regular classes officially commenced on August 9, 2022, with most subjects still set to be conducted online under the Enhanced Virtual Mode of instruction, with the exemption of certain skill-based programs and classes that have already obtained the CHED Safety Seal, a certification that affirms that an institution complies with public health standards set by the government. Approved programs proceed with their classes in hybrid modality.

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