Wednesday, October 25, 2017

University of Santo Tomas

UST is a 400 year old, Catholic University in Manila, one of the top 4 universities in the Philippines.  I was invited here to talk about service-learning for engineering.  I gave a talk on the design and implementation of a service-learning subject in engineering to the Faculty of Engineering this morning.  On Friday, I will speak about a service-learning program for a university to a conference of engineering educators from across different universities in the Philippines. 

The campus is quite small.  Its perimeter is almost exactly 2 kilometres long, as I measured by foot yesterday. It is basically a square, surrounded by fences, inside the huge city that is Manila.  

It is almost unbelievable that you can cramp 40,000 students in such a small space.  Yet they have managed to keep a big, green, grassed soccer field in the middle of the campus, surrounded by big old trees.  There are students on the field, around the field, everywhere.  It reminded my of my days in Aberdeen Technical School.  In late afternoon, more than 100 students would be involved in 7 different soccer matches on the same concrete soccer field, with 7 balls flying around.  I don’t know how we knew which ball to chase and kick.  

Some buildings look old and elegant.  The students wear uniforms, with different uniforms for different disciplines.  One of the teachers said it is so that they can easily identify their students, and which discipline they are in.  

I was surprised to find a tombstone, engraved in Chinese, in the middle of the campus. 

Right underneath a statue of St. Thomas Aquinas, after whom the university was named. 

There is a church in one of the elegant buildings, where masses are celebrated in the morning, and then again in the evening. 

They kicked off the workshop this morning with a prayer, and closed the workshop in late afternoon with another. And they are keen to learn about service-learning. I was told they might want to apply for some funding to bring me back to provide training for the staff on service-learning.  I like this school.  

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