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Disney-themed Paskuhan attracts 100,000 crowd

This year’s highly anticipated Disney-themed Paskuhan Fair with the theme “Light from Light for the Prince of Peace” drew thousands despite experiencing light rainfall throughout the event last December 21.

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yael yuzon singing in paskuhan
Photo by Miguel Yap

This year’s highly anticipated Disney-themed Paskuhan Fair with the theme “Light from Light for the Prince of Peace” drew thousands despite experiencing light rainfall throughout the event last December 21.

According to the UST Central Student Council (CSC), this year’s Paskuhan played host to a crowd of an estimated 100,000 people, over 30,000 more than the previous year’s festivities.

The Paskuhan Fair concert at the UST Grandstand started at around 3 PM with a performance from the UST Drumline which went around the campus. It was followed by performances from I Belong to the Zoo, Fourplay, Quest, The Ransom Collective, Sponge Cola and other Thomasian bands and artists.

Thomasian Dance troupe ACES also graced the stage with a dance number and the UST Salinggawi Dance Troupe rocked the stage with their CDC 2018 performance.

The concert finished with the much awaited pyromusical display featuring Disney movie theme songs “I See the Light” from Tangled, “We Know the Way” from Moana, “Colors of the Wind” from Pocahontas, and “Be Our Guest” from Beauty and the Beast, lasting about 15 minutes..

Before the concert, raffle draws for minor prizes were held in front of the Main Building while major prizes were drawn during the concert. This year’s Paskuhan started with the opening of lights and the traditional Thomasian Agape held last December 4.

No Paskuhan date, no problem

In the weeks leading up to the Paskuhan season, many Thomasians on social media expressed (rather jokingly) their frustration over their lack of a date for this year’s Paskuhan, some even going so far as to advertise their need for one on Twitter. But most Thomasians managed to get along just fine even without a date.

Angel Adora, a senior high school student, said she still managed to enjoy the event even without a partner.

Una sa lahat, yung happiness hindi palaging nagre-revolve sa jowa, makukuha mo rin ‘to sa friends mo and family. May mga friends akong nandito” Angel expressed.

Gabriel Enriquez also shared the same sentiment when it comes to having a Paskuhan date:

For me, mas OK na nagsasaya ka lang kahit wala kang kasamang lover, ayos lang yun.” Gabriel said.

Non-Thomasians were also present in the 27-year-old Thomasian yule tradition. Both Maria Victoria Dela Rosa and Nathaniel Arizala felt “welcomed and one with the UST community.”

Hindi ko na-feel na out of place ako, kasi feel ko na welcome ako sa UST.” Arizala shared.

One of the highlights for them is the pyromusical display that capped off the event and made everyone in awe of the spectacle.

Highlight ng gabi ko ay yung Disney-themed fireworks, para talaga akong nasa Disneyland.” Dela Rosa said.

The yearly University Christmas celebration started in 1991 and included the sharing of donations to calamity victims, which is still observed today, and was formally named Paskuhan in 1993.

The Christmas lights and other decor inside the University will remain lit every night until January 6.

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UST crisis management committee green lights F2F bacc mass and graduation rites

The in-person graduation ceremonies shall be for the Classes of 2020, 2021, and 2022 from the tertiary, post-baccalaureate, and graduate levels.

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(Photo by Gillian Robles/TomasinoWeb)

The University’s Crisis Management Committee approved the conduct of in-person graduation ceremonies, including Baccalaureate mass, a memorandum from the Office of the Secretary-General (OSG) said on Saturday, May 7.

The in-person graduation ceremonies shall be for the Classes of 2020, 2021, and 2022 from the tertiary, post-baccalaureate, and graduate levels.

Only the Class of 2022 will have in-person rites for Senior High School graduates.

Two Baccalaureate masses for the said batches will be held in June. 

According to the OSG, this year’s mass will be “solemn and austere” to express solidarity with the “plight of many people who are still recovering from the ill effects of the pandemic, Thus the traditional fireworks display at the conclusion of the mass will be scrapped this year. 

The solemn investiture shall be conducted starting June 6 either on the Quadricentennial Pavilion or the Medicine Auditorium, schedules may vary per college or faculty. 

Only two companions are allowed to be with each graduating student.

Local graduation committees shall conduct respective orientations for the said batches.

The University, however, shall “strictly abide” by the regulations of the Inter-Agency Task Force, should there be changes in the alert level status in the National Capital Region. 

Ian Patrick Laqui
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UST among top universities in 2022 SDG impact rankings

Among the Philippine universities, the University placed second in Gender Equality (SDG 5), while ranking third in Good Health and Well-being (SDG 3) and fourth in Quality Education (SDG 4).

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(Photo courtesy of Aliah Danseco/TomasinoWeb)

EDITOR’S NOTE: An earlier version of this article mentioned that the University “slipped from its third local standing last year.” We sincerely apologize for this mistake. 

The University ranked sixth among Philippine universities implementing the United Nations’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

According to the data published by the Times Higher Education’s (THE) Impact Rankings 2022 on April 29, UST placed 601-800 in the global rankings and maintained its third spot in the Philippines. 

The University also improved in its overall score. From 47.6-56.5 in 2021, it now received an overall score of 57.3-64.9 in 2022.

Among the Philippine universities, the University placed second in Gender Equality (SDG 5), while ranking third in Good Health and Well-being (SDG 3) and fourth in Quality Education (SDG 4).

Ateneo De Manila University remains the top implementer of SDGs in the country, placing 101-200 in the global rankings – the highest ranking received by any Philippine university, as per the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd).

Globally, Western Sydney University led the overall ranking this year, while Universiti Sains Malaysia led the Asian overall ranking.

The THE Impact Rankings measured 1,406 universities from 106 different countries and regions. THE carefully calibrated indicators to provide a comprehensive and balanced comparison across four broad areas: research, stewardship, outreach, and teaching. 

Justine Xyrah Rennzel Garcia
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Applicants call for transparency of USTAR results

The petition addressed to the concerns of the applicants regarding the screening, exception grades, program alignments, and grading process.

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(Photo by Rohm Bautista/TomasinoWeb)

More than a thousand applicants urged the Office for Admissions (OFAD) to disclose the procedure of the University of Santo Tomas Admission Rating (USTAR) through an online petition, as many applicants were “wondering” how they earned their scores.

The petition addressed the concerns of the applicants regarding the screening, exception grades, program alignments, and grading process. 

“The USTAR admission process is new and has many gaps; nevertheless, this should not prevent the university from disclosing the rigorous process to students, as it is their right to know,” the petition says. 

Petitioners appealed to the OFAD to address their concerns and called on the University to “integrate the values that have long been teaching to its students.” 

“If the institution is committed to its values, it should guarantee that our education serves the best interests of the students.” the petition says.

Conflicts on admission

Petitioners urged to preclude any presumed strand discrimination as a basis for getting accepted into the desired programs and display their alternative program scores for transparency.

There was also an allegation that no science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) students from UST Senior High School (UST-SHS) were qualified for any healthcare courses and Health Allied students were more prioritized.

Daniela Teñoso, a grade 12 STEM student and auditor of UST-SHS Student Council, explained that “no one” from her strand was accepted from any medical-related courses as she asked all of their blocks. 

“We were also informed that STEM students would qualify to these programs through exemption grades, that’s why we were all devastated when the results came out,” she said in an interview with TomasinoWeb.

Teñoso said that she was still glad that other STEM students from different schools were accepted but speculated why “none” from her batch was given a slot in these programs despite their achievements. 

“It was such a hard slap in the face to realize that our two years of hard work had all been for vain because our strands were deemed unfit for our desired programs,” she said.

Communication problems

Petitioners claimed that the office was “unresponsive” to emails, and only a “few” were able to make phone calls while other concerns were left unaddressed. 

Kyle Kevlar, a grade 12 student and also the external public relations officer of the UST-SHS, said that sending emails was the only way to communicate with the office since face-to-face transactions were still restricted.

“As the External Public Relations Officer of the UST-SHS Student Council, I firsthand witnessed the disappointment and stress of the students who wish to apply to the university,” in an interview with TomasinoWeb.

He added that there was a delay or that many applicants were unable to get the reference numbers that are used in their USTAR applications.

Lance Alo, a grade 12 UST-SHS STEM student who took part in initiating the petition, stated that other applications were not processed due to missing requirements that were only notified at the last minute or not at all. 

“This made us realize that the problem is systemic, and addressing it at the individual level will only exhaust all of us hence, why we launched the petition,” he said in an interview.

The petition suggested having an information system to notify students of deficiencies in requirements and also having a help desk for clarification and questions about the results and application of the USTAR.

Seek for resolutions

Alo affirmed the importance of resolving the gaps or concerns in the USTAR as he said that it could “help to ease the anxieties and disappointments faced by the students” and be an example to other institutions by being pro-student. 

“It can also serve as an inspiration to students all around the country since making their voices heard and acting collectively can go a long way,” Alo said.

He said that alongside other petitioners and student leaders, they also appeal for a dialogue with the office to clarify things further.

“We are ready to explain, organize, and fight for our fellow students,” Alo said

Teñoso said that the issues were not only a concern of their strand but also applicants that were denied being admitted to programs that were “clearly” aligned with their strands.

“Everything was so disheartening, and I’m looking forward to hearing what the administration has to say.”

The UST Entrance Exam (USTET) was waived for the second straight year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Hence, the score for USTAR is derived from a developed set of algorithms to assess the academic performance and records of the applicants. 

OFAD released the USTAR results via its portal on March 31.

TomasinoWeb reached out to OFAD through email about this matter but the office has yet to respond.

Marjorie Lumapas
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