UST freshmen to be given virtual tour of campus
MANILA, Philippines — As classes at the University of Santo Tomas (UST) begin on the internet, so will the off-campus tour of its hallowed halls for new students.
Through the 3D world of Minecraft, a popular sandbox adventure game where players get to create their own virtual worlds using building blocks, some 12,000 freshmen will be able to explore the university’s iconic structures, take a stroll on Lover’s Lane, and visit their college buildings–all from the safety of their homes.
Students could opt to wear their college uniforms as in-game skins. Activities also await online visitors for a more interactive feel, UST said in a statement.
The scale recreation of the 21.5-hectare campus along España, Manila, will be streamed live on Friday on the UST TigerTV Facebook page. The UST Minecraft server will be open for the two-hour tour on Aug. 29-30, and on Sept. 5-6.
Based on the schedule of their respective colleges, the freshmen will be able to navigate the virtual campus on their own. They can find the server address at the university’s online learning platform.
The university’s freshmen orientation week started on Tuesday, but activities will be hosted online as the pandemic forced schools to migrate to the internet.
No Welcome Walk
The traditional Welcome Walk, where freshmen get to pass through the Arch of the Centuries to mark their stay at the university, was not included.This had prompted Charles Nobleza, an Information and Computing Sciences sophomore, to create iconic university structures using the block-building game.
“We saw that all the freshmen activities will be done online, which made me kind of sad, so I started the project,” said Nobleza, who spearheaded the virtual tour project, the first for the 409-year-old university.
A total of 80 students from UST worked on the virtual campus for two months, said Kurt Lenard Gutierrez, a first-year Basic Human Studies student.
Some architecture students worked on the map so the structures were properly scaled. Gutierrez was tasked with configuring several things to make the tour more immersive. For example, an avatar would not be able to enter the building without an ID.
“There are more immersive features but I think it’s best to keep them hidden for now,” Gutierrez said.
The result was a Lego-like universe where students could
explore the campus without having to worry about social distancing and
“We envisioned a friendly and wholesome server environment for all Thomasians,” said Nobleza in a video uploaded on UST TigerTV. “[This would be our] temporary home for the meantime.”
Filipino Minecraft players have repeatedly wowed netizens through the years with their creations.
Local players have also recreated famous landmarks in the country such as Rizal Park in 2015.
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