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Difficult beginnings towards a fulfilling end: Behind-the-scenes of the first online baccalaureate mass

“We cannot accommodate all of the problems […] I know it’s not enough, but this is all we can do for now [and] for you,” De Mesa said.

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UST Minecraft’s Arch of the Centuries and camera setup. Screengrab provided by Charles Nobleza

While they admit to feeling pressured throughout the event preparations, Thomasian student-leaders remain hopeful as they take charge of the baccalaureate festivities. 

In a series of interviews with TomasinoWeb, Central Student Council (CSC) President Krizia Bricio, UST Minecraft founder Charles Nobleza, and send-off concert supervising producer Ashley de Mesa recalled the satisfaction they felt during the last weeks of preparations for the baccalaureate mass and send-off concert.

“Noong una, medyo uncertain ako […] pero kanina sa orientation, medyo na-alleviate na ang negativity na na-fifeel ko kasi marami naman willing mag-participate,” De Mesa said.

Despite the initial backlash it received, UST Minecraft ignored the negativity and focused on improving the virtual campus.

“[W]e designed [it] to feel as if you were in the event in real life. We did not add any new additions for the server [and] just focused on the main aspects needed such as fireworks and the attire of the graduates,” Nobleza said.

Given the present COVID-19 restrictions, the baccalaureate festivities and traditions will be done on Minecraft with 500 students and administrators representing their respective batches and programs.

UST Minecraft started as a student-initiated project back in the second quarter of 2020. Its first university-wide event was #USTeXP: UST Minecraft Tour, a virtual campus tour for Freshie Week 2020.

Since then, they have participated in several university-wide events such as Paskuhan and one of UST’s Leadership Training Webinars.

Commitment to service 

To compensate for the absence of in-campus ceremonies for batch 2020 and 2021, Tiger Media Network suggested having a send-off concert for the graduates.

“We had the send-off planned as early as February or March kasi akala namin May na siya mangyayari,” De Mesa said.

Bricio favored this idea as it gave the graduates something to look out for.

Naka-set na sa atin na grand ang celebrations for students […] Unfortunately, ‘di na yan nasabayan ng virtual version kasi hahanapin din nila ‘yung interaction,” Bricio said.

The send-off concert will feature the tribute features of batch 2020 and batch 2021 as well as pre-recorded performances such as those presented during Paskuhan 2020.

Similar to last year’s Paskuhan festivities, the production of the entire event shall be “hybrid” wherein the hosts and a number of the technical staff would work on-site while the rest worked online.

“We did our best” 

Despite its early planning dates, the University only announced the final date for the baccalaureate mass in June.

Given the time constraints and difficulties of coordinating online, several aspects of the event were left unaccomplished, such as the virtual personalization of each batch when exiting the Arch of the Centuries and the sending of  tokens to those who cannot attend the event.

“We cannot accommodate all of the problems […] I know it’s not enough, but this is all we can do for now [and] for you,” De Mesa said.

Bricio also mentioned that the best solution they came up with for those who cannot participate in the festivities was making the livestream available on Facebook.

Despite these lapses, they assured that each batch and program were well-represented.

The staff and groups involved in the program hoped to improve in the virtual events that would follow and for the batches to still enjoy the traditions and festivities of the university.

[H]aving it virtual in Minecraft is a band aid solution. Despite it being online, I hope that they would enjoy the festivities stored for them since we devoted a lot of time and effort into creating this for them,” Nobleza said.

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UST perfects August 2021 architecture boards

The University produced eight new Thomasian architects amid the cancellation of testing in Metro Manila due to the Delta variant surge.

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UST Beato Angelico Building (Marc Valmoria/TomasinoWeb)

Eight Thomasians qualified in the August 2021 architecture licensure examinations (ALE), registering a 100 percent passing rate, the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) announced on Thursday, Sept. 2.

Previously, in the January 2020 ALE, the University was hailed as the top-performing school after it posted a passing rate of 85.18 percent, with 92 out of 108 takers passing the exam.

The national passing rate for this year was at 65.96 percent or 560 passers out of 849. This is an improvement from the previous year’s rate of 55.72 percent with 1,242 making the cut out of 2,229 takers.

The PRC did not declare any top-performing schools for this year’s architecture boards cycle, as no universities qualified with 20 or more takers.

The low turnout of examinees was due to the implementation of Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine in Metro Manila due to the surge of the contagious Delta variant.

The examination was held last August 27 and 29 at testing centers in Baguio, Cebu, Koronadal, Iloilo, Legaspi, Lucena, Pampanga, Tacloban, and Zamboanga.

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UST, pumangalawa sa mechanical engineering boards ngayong taon

Nakapagtala ang Unibersidad ng 83.33 porsiyentong passing rate kung saan lima sa anim na Tomasinong kumuha ng pagsusulit ang nakapasa.

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Litrato ni Christel Maliksi/TomasinoWeb

Pumangalawa ang Unibersidad sa mechanical engineering board exams ngayong Agosto matapos itong makapagtala ng 83.33 porsyentong passing rate.

Ito ay mas mataas kumpara resulta ng nakaraang taon na 12.50 porsyento o dalawa sa 14 na Tomasinong kumuha ng pagsusulit ang pumasa.

READ  UST declines in February 2020 mechanical eng'g boards

Inanunsyo ng Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) noong Martes, ika-24 ng Agosto, ang mga pumasa sa pagsusulit kung saan lima sa anim na Tomasinong kumuha ng pagsusulit ang nakapasa. 

Nakakita rin ngayong taon ng 39.77 porsyentong passing rate kung saan 247 sa 621 indibidwal na kumuha ng pagsusulit ang nakapasa. Mas mataas ito kumpara sa nakaraang taon na may ​​38.45 porsyentong passing rate o 1,334 sa 3,469 na kumuha ng pagsusulit.

Ang mababang turn-out ng mga kumuha ng pagsusulit ay dulot ng pagkansela ng PRC sa pagsasagawa ng pagsusulit sa Metro Manila, Cebu, at Cagayan de Oro dala ng banta ng Delta variant. Sa halip, ito ay isinagawa lamang sa Baguio, Davao, Lucena, Rosales, Tacloban, at Zamboanga.

Ipinroklama rin ng PRC ang tanging mga institusyong nakakuha ng mas mataas sa 80 porsyento at may higit sa limang kalahok sa pagsusulit. 

Pitong bagong rehistradong mechanical engineer naman mula sa Saint Louis University sa Baguio City ang nanguna sa pagsusulit. 

Ang Unibersidad ay pumapangalawa sa Ateneo de Davao University at University of Mindanao – Davao City na parehong nakakuha ng 100 porsyentong passing rate.

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UST mamamahagi ng 1,000 libreng pocket Wi-Fi para sa online class

Ang “Connectivity Assistance Program” ay naglalayong tulungan ang mga mag-aaral ng pamantasan na makalahok sa kanilang online classes.

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LIBRENG WI-FI. Ipagpapatuloy ng Unibersidad ang kanilang Connectivity Assistance Program na sinimulan noong nakaraang taon sa pamamagitan ng pagbibigay ng karagdagang pocket Wi-Fi sa mga Tomasino. Larawan mula sa UST Facebook page.

Isang libong pocket Wi-Fi ang balak ipamahagi ng Unibersidad para sa mga Tomasinong mag-aaral na wala nakararanas ng mabagal na koneksyon sa internet para sa online classes.

Inilabas ng UST Central Student Council (CSC) noong Martes, ika-10 ng Agosto, ang survey para sa mga nais kumuha ng pocket wifi. Ang “Connectivity Assistance Program” ay naglalayong tulungan ang mga mag-aaral ng pamantasan na makalahok sa kanilang online classes.

Ang mga nais maging benepisyaryo ng programa ay kailangan lamang magbayad ng P300 bilang “reconnection fee.” Libre ang magiging buwanang subscription na may kasama ng 8GB na data na maaaring magamit sa loob ng lima hanggang pitong buwan o isang semestre.

Matatandaan noong simula ng lockdown at ng ikalawang semestre ng pagsasakatuparan ng “Enhanced Virtual Mode” (EVM) sa Unibersidad, unang inilunsad ng UST ang programa sa tulong ng mga telecommunications company na PLDT at Smart Communications. 

Higit 5,000 pocket Wi-Fi device ang ipinamahagi ng programa noon para sa mga estudyante at guro.

READ  UST partners with Smart telco, distributes free pocket wifi

Sa pagpapatuloy ng panuruang taon 2021-2022 at patuloy na pagtaas ng kaso ng COVID-19, napagpasyahan ng UST na ipagpaliban muna ang mga “face-to-face” na klase at sa halip ay ipagpatuloy ang EVM

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