16 January 2014, 11:30 p.m. – CONSTANT revitalization is essential for campus papers to remain relevant in the changing times.

This was the message of former UST rector Fr. Rolando de la Rosa, O.P. in his homily during the Eucharistic celebration for the 86th anniversary of the Varsitarian, the University’s official student publication, this evening at the St. Dominic Chapel of the Tan Yan Kee Student Center.

“I believe that to many of us, the Varsitarian has always been an object of affection and endearment,” said De la Rosa, who himself served as editor of the Varsitarian’s Witness (religion) section. “And like any other object of affection, it dies by being neglected, by being taken for granted, by being exploited for own private interests, by allowing it to fade into irrelevance.”

The former chairman of the Commission on Higher Education called on the Varsitarian to “continually review, revise and reformulate” its vision and mission statements so as not to suffer the fate of two UST student publications that preceded it — El Martes Escolar and La Voz Estudiantil, which, he said, ceased to exist due to perceived irrelevance and students’ loss of interest.

“The Varsitarian, to be continually relevant, must be fundamentally, not only functionally, true to itself, to the vision of its founders,” said De la Rosa.

“Perhaps it is about time to start rethinking the format of the Varsitarian as well as its content and orientation, [but] such a rethinking need not be done in a vacuum,” he added, encouraging the staff to always be committed to truth and the University’s Catholic ideals.

“The Varsitarian helps in creating an atmosphere where truth is explored,” De la Rosa said. “But it is not just any kind of truth; it must be truth that is related to our Catholic context, appropriated, valuable, and a guide to true wisdom.”

Now on its 86th year, the Varsitarian remains the premiere chronicler of Asia’s oldest and only Pontifical university, reporting University-wide and national issues.

The Varsitarian was founded in 1928 by a group of students led by Jose Villa Panganiban, who became the first director of the National Language Institute.

Outstanding alumni of the Varsitarian include journalistic and literary titans: Arsenio Lacson, Felix Bautista, Joe Burgos, Jullie Yap-Daza, Rina Jimenez-David, Neal Cruz, Jake Macasaet, Francisco Tatad, Antonio Lopez, Alice Colet-Villadolid, Eugenia Duran-Apostol, National Artists Bienvenido Lumbera and F. Sionil José, Ophelia Alcantara-Dimalanta, Cirilo Bautista, Cristina Pantoja-Hidalgo, Norma Miraflor, Eric Gamalinda, and Vim Nadera. Lord Bien G. Lelay


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