The ongoing pandemic has caused many schools to get even more creative, and the University of Santo Tomas remains ready to adapt its traditions online. The 409-year old University showcased its premises to its freshmen online through a virtual tour of the Manila campus, reconstructed in their own Minecraft server, on August 28, 2020. The UST Minecraft Launch and Tour began synchronous streaming at on the UST Tiger TV Facebook page, with builders and representatives of the different faculties, colleges, and institutes introducing the virtual UST campus to the community.
This took the place of the traditional Thomasian Welcome Walk, where — since 2002 — thousands of freshmen symbolically enter the University through the historic Arch of the Centuries at the beginning of each academic year to signify the beginning of their Thomasian life.
The freshmen explored the 21.5-hectare UST-Manila campus and saw its iconic structures, which were re-constructed in detail through Minecraft by around 80 UST students.
The two-hour virtual campus tour located in the UST Minecraft server was held on August 29, August 30, September 5, and September 6, with each academic unit having its own schedule.
With its ROARientation program now solely online, the University of Santo Tomas (UST) continued to bridge the distance among its freshmen at home and invited them to connect with the greater Thomasian community. The week-long online program live streamed through the UST Cloud Campus was held from August 24 to August 28, 2020 .The 97th Rector of UST Very Rev. Fr. Richard G. Ang, O.P., Ph.D., started the program with an online Welcome Mass and Welcome Rites.
“To the freshmen, the new members of the Thomasian family and community, the road ahead may be a bit rough, and the current situation might take some time getting used to, but it also presents numerous opportunities to discover and successfully navigate new and exciting learning experiences,” said Very Rev. Fr. Ang. The Mass was immediately followed by a Welcome Address from the UST Secretary-General Rev. Fr. Jesús M. Miranda, Jr., O.P., Ph.D.
The “Life at UST” series by Tiger TV became available for asynchronous stream on August 24. Thomasians are known as “Tigers”, and fittingly, “Life at UST” has for its daily themes the acronym “T.I.G.R.E.”: Traditions, Inspiration, Guarantee, Resiliency, and Engagement. Each day of the orientation corresponds to one themed episode.
The first episode features “Tradition” and tackled the history and culture of UST, the Thomasian Identity, school spirit, campus life, and the Thomasian cheers for UAAP games. Among the speakers for this day is UAAP Season 81 and 82 courtside reporter Makayla Chavez. For August 25, the theme of “Inspiration” highlighted Thomasian role models, namely, St. Thomas, St. Dominic, the Thomasian Saints and Martyrs, and its notable alumni that include the National Hero, Dr. Jose Rizal. UST Vice Rector for Religious Affairs Rev. Fr. Pablo T. Tiong, O.P., and Atty. Mae Diane Azores, the 2019 Bar Examinations Topnotcher for the UST-Legazpi College of Law, were speakers.
“Guarantee” was released on August 26 and introduced new Thomasians to the UST Brand of Education, the Enhanced Virtual Mode, Thomasian perks and advantages, and student services. TV host and UST alumna Winnie Cordero and UST Vice Rector for Academic Affairs Prof. Cheryl R. Peralta, Ph.D., led the discussion.
Resiliency” was the topic on August 27, and tackled mental health, the new normal, and Diskarteng Tomasino, with Thomasian scholars and athletes taking part in the conversation. For the final day of the program, “Life at UST” put the spotlight on “Engagements”, namely, the Central Student Council, the Student Organization Coordinating Council, and other student organizations, student affairs, and the Thomasian Code of Honor.
Through the adaptation of community traditions to a web-based medium, Thomasians continue to roar as one.