/ 28 February 2021

MAPUA University initiated an ‘online kapihan’ that encourages informal healthy conversations to help students and professors manage their stress and anxiety amid the ongoing Covid19 pandemic.

Organized by the university’s School of Social Sciences and Education together with its Student Council and the Mapua Psychological Society, learners and faculty members are provided with a safe virtual space to express their concerns.

John Christopher Castillo, psychology and general education professor and student council adviser, said the online kapihan is a virtual sit-down session where participants can have quick chats with fellow students and professors not for lecture but for casual conversations.

“We have been holding kapihan sessions even before the pandemic happened as part of our catching up with our students, and we would hold it during the seventh week of every term,” Castillo said.

“Most student council members are fond of casual conversations over a cup of coffee, and that was how the idea came about. This activity combines their love for coffee and sharing stories, and we continue to do it virtually during this lockdown,” he added.

Mapua said the participants will go online via Zoom and enter breakout rooms based on various topics they want to share about such as love, academics, family, self, sociopolitical issues, gaming, and online business, among others.

All conversations are held confidential and kept between the individuals inside the rooms, it added.

Castillo said the online kapihan will encourage students to pause, breathe, and converse, or just listen.

“It gives them an opportunity to share what they are passionate about, what makes them happy, or anything that keeps them going,” Castillo said.

“We want this activity to be a reminder that there are people willing to listen. Most importantly, our mental and emotional battles do not have to be fought alone,” he added.