What if Suzanne Collins’ fictional world becomes a reality—the Capitol, the districts, the strict enforcement, and the annual Hunger Games? But instead of the country of Panem, these things will exist in the Pontifical and Royal University of Santo Tomas. How would the Thomasians react? Will they be afraid just like every teenager in Collins’ trilogy? Will they be excited just like the citizens of the Capitol?
The Hunger Games started all because of the rebellion of the 13 districts against the Capitol. It was a punishment to remind the people of Panem that no one can defeat the Capitol. So, if the Hunger Games is to exist in the campus at España, why would it be so? As the new rector, Rev. Fr. Herminio Dagohoy, O.P., PhD. will impose the Hunger Games because the rankings of UST went down in the latest Quacquarelli-Symonds Asian University rankings.
“Because you have failed to uplift the university’s academic excellence in the global setting,” the rector will say, “I will be imposing an annual Hunger Games. The Games will only be cancelled if you, students of UST, will be able to prove our academic excellence through the QS University rankings under two conditions—first, UST must be able to enter the Top 100 Asian Universities, and second, UST must beat the other Philippine Universities. The battlefield will serve as your academic training ground.” Sounds reasonable?
In the novel, two tributes, a boy and a girl between the ages of 12 and 18, are picked to represent their district. If the Hunger Games will be imposed in UST, instead of 12 districts, there will be 19 faculties/colleges. One male student and one female student will be selected to represent their faculty/college in the Games.
The tributes will be parading in the streets of the campus sporting their faculty’s/college’s uniforms. The tributes will also be interviewed in the grandstand, in front of the Thomasian community. The football field will be the starting point of the bloodbath.
The whole campus will serve as the arena wherein they will be facing different kinds of catastrophes. Instead of earthquakes, avalanches, fires, and floods, Thomasian tributes will face quizzes, practical and oral exams, and other academic tests, in order to prove their intellectual might. Each day, whoever gets the lowest score will be subjected to debarment. The last pair remaining will emerge as victors of the Games.
The Games will be televised and viewed by the Thomasian community in every television screen in every building, where the students, professors and administrators of UST, as well as the parents of the tributes will be awaiting for the results. Updates on the Games will be available online, through TomasinoWeb, of course.
Maybe you think I’m going crazy. But you can’t blame a mind from involuntarily wallowing in a weird kind of imagination.
“Happy Hunger Games, students of UST! And may the odds ever be in your favor.”
By Jan Angelo Cabantog
Graphics by Julius Renomeron, Jr.