The freshman batch of 2013 got a welcome rite they would never forget, less than a week after stepping inside UST at the start of Academic Year 2013-2014.

Wearing masks, face paint and carrying their college colors, thousands of first-year students marched around the campus and passed through the Arch of the Centuries to the drumbeat of the UST Yellow Jackets last June 7.

This tradition enables freshmen to connect with UST’s 402-year-old history, Secretary General Fr. Winston Cabading, O.P. said in an interview.

Cabading said that unlike in previous years, the “Thomasian Welcome Walk” was held earlier to avoid heavy rains.

“We thought that if we pushed it further like we used to, we would be caught again by the rainy season,” Cabading told the Varsitarian.

Shannon Bustillo, a freshman Marketing student, said: “You will feel na Thomasian ka na at welcome na welcome ka na sa UST. `Pag enter ng Arch of the Centuries parang malalaman mo na marami kang pagsubok na pagdadaanan sa college.”

UST decided to bring the welcome rite to its original venue, the UST Open Field, after moving it to the Quadricentennial Pavillion and Plaza Mayor in the past two years due to inclement weather.

However, due to a sudden downpour, the Freshmen Welcome Party at the Plaza Mayor was postponed.

Missing piece

In his homily during the Mass after the Welcome Walk, Rector Fr. Herminio Dagohoy, O.P. said UST could help its 11,721 freshmen find the “missing piece” in their lives.

This can be done if the freshmen harness their talents and abilities during their stay in the University while valuing their faith in God in search for truth.

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“In harnessing and in finding, we need God. Wherever you go, that missing part of yourself and the emptiness in your life can only be filled up by God."

UST will not only offer what is “feasible, functional, and profitable,” but also what is true and what is good for students in their academic journey, Dagohoy said.

“Thomasians will be wiser, braver and hopeful for the search of truth,” he said.

Dagohoy also urged freshmen to be inspired by the lives of Thomasian saints, martyrs, and successful alumni who had carried the name of the UST through the ages.

“May you be inspired by the lives of our Thomasian martyrs who [had] dedicated their lives in the pursuit of truth and [had] committed themselves in their faith and their love for others,” he said, adding that “God must have loved UST so much” because of its roster of saints and heroes.

The offerings during the Mass will be given to community partners of the UST Simbahayan outreach project.

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