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Welcome, Freshies!

(June 20)— Inspiring messages from University officials welcomed the newest and youngest batch of Iskolar ng Bayan at the Freshman Welcome Assembly 2012 (FWA) heldat the University Theater on June 13.

Organized by the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, the FWA is a yearly tradition that serves as the venue for officially introducing the freshmen to the UP System and UPD Officials led by and UP President Alfredo E. Pascual and UPD Chancellor Caesar A. Saloma, respectively.

Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Ma. Corazon J. Tan opened the program by asking the students about the true meaning of this year’s FWA theme Kahusayan at Karangalan sa paglilingkod sa bayan (Honor and Excellence in the service of the people).

Tan said, “honor and excellence in the service of the people” is an important duty and responsibility not only for one’s self or for the family, but for the country and nation as well. 

She challenged the freshmen to embody its true meaning in their own simple ways such as going to classes early, attending meetings on time and showing respect and consideration for others.

She emphasized that it can also be shown through accomplishing their given tasks; being able to present and defend their opinions and ideas to their professors and classmates in a respectful, calm and responsible manner; submitting honest and excellent researches; passing the exams; communicating with their classmates, professors, and the administrative staff with respect, principle and discipline; and respecting and recognizing the opinions of others.

Tan also urged the new Iskolar ng Bayan to actively participate in examining and providing solutions to the socio-economic and environmental problems of the country with a critical, scientific and creative mind.

A message from the Chancellor followed next. Saloma welcomed and congratulated the freshmen for being among the 3, 821 students who qualified for admission in UPD and for “joining the ranks of the best and brightest scholars in the country.”

Emphasizing the value of honor and excellence, he said, “The university that you have chosen to enter takes pride in academic freedom. We uphold the value of ideas; we champion discourse, knowledge, information, and the ability to dissect issue. The kind of intellect that we value is shaped not by hubris, or self-satisfaction, or a mean spirit, but by openness, courage, and the wisdom of perception.”

He further said, “In the University of the Philippines, true critical thought is the standard rather than the exception. Thus, we live by our philosophy: honor and excellence. Remember that it is not one or the other, but both.”

Lastly, he said, “You may be here because you are the best and brightest of your generation, but you are really here to make a difference.”

After the Chancellor, the UP President and Gabriel Paolo “Heart” Diño, University Student Council chairperson, also welcomed and congratulated the freshmen.

Two FWA sessions were scheduled to accommodate the number of attendees: the morning session (which started at 8 a.m.) for freshmen of all colleges except those from the colleges of Science, Engineering and Social Sciences and Philosophy; and the afternoon session (at 1 p.m.) for the freshmen of the aforementioned exceptions.

Speaking on behalf of the freshmen were Kimberly R. Palomique (for the morning session) and Jeynald Jeyromme L. Endaya (for the afternoon session).

FWA 2012 also featured the highly-energized performance of UPD’s finest talents namely, the UP Pep Squad coached by College of Human Kinetics Professor Lala Pereña; the UP Singing Ambassadors under the baton of College of Music (CM) Professor Edgardo Manguiat; Kontra-Gapi (Kontemporaryong Gamelang Pilipino), UP Street Dance with the Varsity Freshmen, UP Sinagbayan, and the UP ROTC Symphonic Band under the baton of CM Professor Rodney Ambat.

Both sessions were hosted by Professor Pedro “Edru” R. Abraham Jr., College of Arts and Letters professor and founder of Kontra-Gapi.—Haidee C. Pineda