Embodying the extraordinary Benildean spirit, the Student Trainers (STRAINS) welcomed the new batch of first-year students and transferees with the first of many wondrous college experiences through “INTERAKTIV 2022: Enchantment.” This year’s theme is about the magic of meeting blockmates, experiencing Benilde for the first time, and rebuilding the face-to-face Benildean culture.
The two-week-long event featured a hybrid of face-to-face and virtual programs that best allowed the new students to assimilate into their new environment. Waving their wands, STRAINS officially commenced the enchanted journey on Aug. 24 with their Facebook Live opening ceremony and website launch. Continuing with the online modality of INTERAKTIV, both the Zoom event and website provided the frosh with a familiar set-up and all the necessary information they needed to fly through the realms of their Benildean experience.
From Aug. 31 to Sept. 6, INTERAKTIV brought out the biggest smiles, the loudest cheers, and the roaring laughter of ID 122 frosh into Benilde’s Taft Campus for the first face-to-face orientation in two years. While every day of the event retained the same program, split into morning and afternoon sessions, STRAINS members and volunteers managed to run its entirety without letting a second go to waste.
The program showed each student the wonders of Benilde, from a tour of the three campuses, packed with spellbinding games and activities, to an enchanting culmination of the Benildean community and culture, riddled with in-house charm and vibrance. With a little imagination, ID 122 students were filled with excitement and anticipation for what was to come.
Coming in batches, frosh students were greeted with a blast of cheers and good ol’ fashioned university-style chanting with heart-pumping drums. Hyped up from a quick lesson on their batch ID 122 chant, they then split up into their respective CSBLIFE sections, going around the campus with different stations and orientors.
Greeted with a tour around the different sceneries of Benilde’s Taft campus, ID 122 students were given time to create bonds through their group cheers and learn Filipino Sign Language to understand more about our deaf peers in Benilde. After a quick break, they headed to the ARG theater for an extraordinarily Benildean presentation.
INTERAKTIV shined in its captivating presentation of Benildean culture; its closing program was the peak of doing ordinary things extraordinarily well. Performances from the Benilde Culture and Arts Unit (BCAU) both entertained and educated, while a stunning fashion show introduced Benilde’s dress code policies.
It’s still magic even when you know how it’s done
To ensure that ID 122 frosh leaves the halls of Benilde enchanted by INTERAKTIV’s experience, student trainers and volunteers work at unmagical hours to ensure the event meets their goal in mind. Although the orientors take their well-deserved shifts, some student trainers and performers stayed the whole day for an exceptional five days.
In an interview with The Benildean, Project Head and ID 120 Music Production student Gab Garcia shared his very reason for participating in the event. Despite initially not wanting to dabble behind the scenes, he remembered his personal reason that pushed him into taking the role as a head. “I wanted to become an INTERAKTIV orientor since I was inspired during my INTERAKTIV, which was the first [online version] back in 2020. If I could inspire one person to be a part of this organization, that’s [all I personally want].”
Similarly, Assistant Project Head and ID 121 Diplomacy and International Affairs student, Phoebe Lague shared her own personal sentiments, “It’s so fulfilling, because as someone who was not able to experience face-to-face INTERAKTIV, I was able to get the best of both worlds.” as she also started fully online in her freshman year. “Seeing the frosh smile energizes not just me, but all the volunteers involved in INTERAKTIV.”
Photo by Julia Mikaela Natividad
Backstage frights and seamless improvisation
To Garcia, the idea of ‘rebuilding’ is what made INTERAKTIV 2022 stand out from previous years, “We’re rebuilding a completely new culture—a culture emerging between an online and face-to-face [set-up]. I think that’s what’s so beautiful about INTERAKTIV this year [...] It’s like [a combination] of the best [parts] of face-to-face and online.” However, it was from this unique feat, and what stormy weather came that weekend, that the organizers struggled to ensure its success.
When typhoon Hinnamnor stormed the country and caused the suspension of classes in Manila on Sept. 2, INTERAKTIV was forced to end its operations early for the day despite going strong for the morning session, cutting short the frosh’s experience for the afternoon program.
To only add fuel to the fire, “The most challenging part for us was managing both the online and [the face-to-face set up] because [the team was] so little in [STRAINS]. [For a lot of us] in the managing team, this is our first time doing a face-to-face event ever.” he said. Considering ID 120 and 121’s initial online experience, newer members of the organization were taught for the online set-up and later on learned all about handling face-to-face events with some of them even becoming STRAINS heads.
INTERAKTIV 2022 was a pivotal moment not only for the upcoming hybrid activities of the school year but also for the frosh and their impression on their newfound community. Even with external challenges, ID 122 is sure to remember their introduction with Benilde and their college life—something to hold onto for the rest of their journey.
The magical event is far from over! Catch their closing ceremony tomorrow, Sept. 7, via the Student Trainers’ Facebook page, live from 8:00 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Don't fret if you've missed out on the magic, INTERKATIV 2022's website will be ongoing until the end of the term, Dec 14. However, remember that CSBLIFE accreditation only lasts until Sept. 30.
STRAINS, under the guidance of the Student Involvement Unit, aids in the implementation of INTERAKTIV (orientation program) and Unite (solidarity/fellowship activity), as well as team building and student development activities.