UWA, formerly known as the Freshmen Welcome Assembly, is a yearly tradition organized by the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs (OVCSA) to introduce freshmen (freshies), graduate students and transferees to administration officials and treat them to a showcase of best performances from UPD’s homegrown talents.
According to OVCSA, the welcome assembly this year was moved to the UP Film Center due to the ongoing renovation of the University Theater and became a 2-day event, with morning and afternoon sessions, accommodating a total of 2, 302 new students from UPD’s 27 degree granting units.
The Jul. 30 assembly’s morning and afternoon sessions were attended by the College of Engineering (COE), College of Fine Arts (CFA), College of Home Economics, College of Human Kinetics, College of Law, College of Mass Communication, School of Economics, School of Statistics and the international students.
On Jul. 31, the colleges of Architecture, Arts and Letters, Education, Music, Science, Social Sciences and Philosophy, Social Work and Community Development, National College of Public Administration and Governance, Cesar E.A. Virata School of Business, School of Library and Information Studies, School of Labor and International Relations, School of Urban and Regional Planning, Asian Institute of Tourism, Institute of Islamic Studies, Asian Center, Technology Management Center and the Archaeological Studies Program assembled.
The program opened with the entrance of the UPD and college officials followed by the singing of the National Anthem.
UPD Chancellor Michael L. Tan, in his opening remarks, called the new batch of freshies as “Izkos” and “Izkas” (spelled with a ‘z’ instead of ‘s’), since most of them belong to the Generation Z who were born after the year 2000.
Tan said while he is happy that the new generation is more adept with the latest gadgets like cellphones, tablets or iPads, “We also worry that problems are starting to emerge from these technologies and for this generation, we want UPD to help you become a Generation Z that is not too addicted to your tablets and phones.”
As in the previous year, Tan gave the new students tips to survive and thrive at UPD: 1) love yourself more, 2) eat well and eat slowly (less salt, less instant noodles and more fruits and vegetables), 3) sleep at least seven hours each night, 4) keep moving, 5) sit and meditate, 6) take breaks from time to time, 7) read old fashioned books and newspapers again, 8) write more or take down notes and text less, 9) listen more and talk less, 10) ask questions, 11) love others and appreciate people in your lives, 12) join organizations, 13) go into relationships, and 14) love UP.
An advice from the Chancellor that elicited laughter was “When you go into relationships, one piece of advice, huwag ninyong i-tattoo ang pangalan sa katawan ninyo. Kasi love is not forever definitely if it is this early.”
Lastly, Tan requested the new students to become “pioneers of environmental sustainability program dito sa UPD.”
He presented a kit containing reusable utensils (fork, spoon, chopsticks and metal straw) and said “We hope that with time, this will become standard gear for all UPD students.”
Meanwhile, a video of UP President Danilo L. Concepcion’s message to the new students was shown at the program.
The freshmen were later introduced to the UPD officials with great pride by their respective college deans. Freshies from different colleges were either wearing color-coordinated shirts or creative head gears while some brought props like balloons, cardboard letters of their college’s acronyms and banners. They also responded to their dean’s introduction with their respective college cheers.
Speaking on behalf of the students were Kristine Bernadete Q. Nuñez and Mathieu Alonzo.
While still overwhelmed on finally becoming UP students, Nuñez said, “Sa susunod na mga araw, gamitin natin ang mga damdaming ito upang makamtan ang karangalan at kahusayan.”
She asked her fellow students, “Laging magpasalamat sa isang institusyong nagsusumikap na tayo ay hubuging maging mabuti at kapaki-pakinabang na mga mamamayan; Panatilihin ang pagkamausisa sa kung ano ang tunay na kahalagahan ng ating edukasyon.”
Alonzo, meanwhile, urged his fellow students to express their gratitude to the people who helped them achieve their goal of studying in UP. He said, “Pasalamatan natin ang ating mga gurong walang sawang sumubaybay sa ating pag-aaral; ang ating mga kamag-aaral, na kasabay nating mag- review habang nakikinig sa lo fi hip hop radio; at ang ating mga magulang at pamilya na para sa akin ay naging inspirasyon upang magpursige at lalong magsikap kahit wala na sila.”
University Student Council Chairperson Sean Angelo Thakur and Vice Chairperson Kenneth Eser Jose later introduced the USC members and College Student Council. It was followed by a passionate speech from the student activists who went on stage to air protests against several issues in the country such as the Philippine’s sovereignty over the West Philippine Sea, extra judicial killings and free tuition fee for all, among others.
As part of the welcome treat, the event showcased performances by the UP Concert Chorus, UP Dancesport Society and the UP Varsity Pep Squad.
The event was hosted by CAL professors Marvin Ray Olaes of the Department of Speech Communication and Theatre Arts and Jovy Peregrino, PhD of the Departmento ng Filipino at Panitikan ng Pilipinas.
The program culminated with the singing of “UP Naming Mahal.”
—Haidee C. Pineda, images by Jefferson Villacruz