Responding to the pandemic, health sciences to take centerstage in new campus plans
CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines — The “Campus of the Future” of Xavier University – Ateneo de Cagayan seeks to respond to the challenges and opportunities of the new normal, becoming a testament of hope and strength in the midst of a health crisis.
XU President Fr Mars P Tan SJ has underscored the crucial role of health sciences in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, thus, making it a priority in the masterplan of the new campus.
“We firmly believe that this new campus project is what Xavier Ateneo needs to move forward to become a leading ASEAN university — more resilient and more responsive to the needs of the new normal and beyond,” Fr Mars shares.
He adds: "The pandemic has shown us that we need more health programs and professionals to augment and strengthen the healthcare system in our country, so we take it as a challenge to form men and women for others as doctors, nurses, and other essential health workers to better serve the local communities, especially the poor and the less privileged.”
New era for XU health programs
Dr Ruth Semilla-Beltran, the Dean of the XU Jose P Rizal School of Medicine during the conceptualization of the new campus, underscored the urgent need for “a stronger medical course now and post-pandemic.”
“This won’t be the last pandemic that we will face, especially if we don't care about our environment and climate” Dr Beltran warns, adding that "the new campus should be an interdisciplinary learning area for the university units to help combat diseases and tackle all sorts of problems even beyond medicine."
"We need to broaden our horizon,” she says. “This project will intensify the service-learning and primary care programs, especially in impoverished communities, as embedded in our curriculum.”
Xavier Ateneo considers the new campus as paving the way for a "new era" for its health programs, in addition to its top-performing Medicine (PAASCU Level III Accreditation) and Nursing (100% NLE passing rate for 10 consecutive years) courses.
“The completion of the new campus with the concomitant improvements in infrastructure and efficient technology would transform the XU School of Medicine into a key player not just in our country, but also in the ASEAN region,” Dr Beltran says.
She also shared that the Campus of the Future will allow the university to offer more health-related courses and services.
“In fact, this will be the time for the university to propose and expand its health programs and offer paramedical courses, such as medical technology, pharmacy, and physical therapy, among others.”
Masterson Campus and University Township
In honor of the great visionary Jesuit, Fr William Masterson SJ, who foresaw the potential of Manresa in the 1960s, the new campus will be known as the "Masterson Campus.”
Its main elements include an abundance of open and green spaces, the main plaza, interconnected courtyards, campus-wide wireless connectivity, bike lanes, sports facilities, an amphitheater, and a University Forum which will incorporate a museum, theatre, and a gallery.
The Masterson Campus will be constructed on a 21-hectare land in Manresa, adjacent to the 14.3-hectare township to be known as “Manresa Town.” The 25-hectare forest reserve and animal sanctuaries will be retained on the uptown property.
“We are not just building a university campus, but a university township, surrounded by the 25-hectare forest reserve that can blend in to pursue the sustainable environment the Campus of the Future truly deserves,” shares Jose “Joe” Soberano III, CEO of Cebu Landmasters, XU's partner developer for this project.
Soberano, in his message during the MOA signing ceremony, also added the possibility of constructing a hospital uptown, a wellness center for elderly Jesuits, and other smart facilities within the university township.∎ (File photos from XU Archives)