UST freshmen tours will be held in ‘Minecraft’

Not a top university for nothing: UST bares its fangs and gets creative with its opening ceremony and ROARientation

UST main building from the Minecraft server

It’s not safe to go outside. That’s the gist of 2020. And if we can’t go outdoors, we find ways to bring our old lives indoors. This applies to all aspects of life, whether arts, travel, or education. The ongoing health crisis has urged learning institutions to get crafty in keeping education alive. One of the exemplary schools that are doing a great job in moving their traditions online is the University of Santo Tomas (UST).

On Aug. 28, the 409-year-old university is set to conduct an online tour of its Manila campus for its freshmen via their own Minecraft server! 

The “UST Minecraft Launch and Tour” will begin synchronous streaming at 3 p.m. 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 event serves as the digital alternative of the “Thomasian Welcome Walk," a rite of passage which, since 2002, has seen thousands of freshmen walk through and enter the institution through the historic Arch of the Centuries at the start of each academic year to symbolize the beginning of a student’s Thomasian life.

Freshmen will be able to explore the 21.5-hectare UST Manila campus and view its iconic structures, re-constructed by around 80 UST students, in great detail through the sandbox video game Minecraft.

Through the shift of community traditions to a web-based medium, Thomasians will continue to roar as one.

The two-hour virtual campus tour located in the UST Minecraft server will continue on Aug. 29 and 30, as well as Sept. 5 and 6, with each academic unit having its own schedule. 

With its ROARientation program now solely online, the university continues to bridge the distance among freshmen at home and invites them to connect with the greater Thomasian community.

UST main building in real life photo by Tristan Tamayo

The week-long online program live streamed through the UST Cloud Campus will kick off today, Aug. 24, and end on Friday, Aug. 28.

The 97th Rector of UST Very Rev. Fr. Richard G. Ang, O.P., Ph.D., will initiate the program with an online welcome mass and rites at 9 a.m., 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 will be available for a synchronous stream today at 1:30 p.m. Thomasians are known as “Tigers,” and fittingly, “Life at UST” has for its daily themes the acronym T.I.G.R.E., which means Traditions, Inspiration, Guarantee, Resiliency, and Engagement.

Each day of the orientation corresponds to one themed episode. Today, Aug. 24, will feature “Tradition” and will tackle the history and culture of UST, the Thomasian Identity, school spirit, campus life, and the Thomasian cheers for UAAP games. UAAP Season 81 and 82 courtside reporter Makayla Chavez will be one of the speakers today.

On Aug. 25, the theme “Inspiration” will highlight Thomasian role models namely, St. Thomas, St. Dominic, the Thomasian saints and martyrs, as well as its notable alumni, the National Hero Dr. Jose Rizal included.

On Aug. 26, “Guarantee” will introduce 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., will lead the discussion.

97th Rector of UST Very Rev. Fr. Richard G. Ang, O.P., Ph.D.

“Resiliency” on Aug. 27, will tackle mental health, the new normal, and Diskarteng Tomasino, with Thomasian scholars and athletes taking part in the conversation.

On the final day of the program, “Life at UST” will put the spotlight on “Engagements,” 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 in a web-based medium, Thomasians will continue to roar as one.