From bus service, to housing to fraternities and sororities, town-gown meetings shine the light on issues involving Virginia Tech students, the university, and relations with the Town of Blacksburg and surrounding communities. 

Six times a year, the town-gown team holds an open forum to take on topics that generate conversation across campus and across Blacksburg.

This year’s Princeton Review points to great town-gown relations as Virginia Tech ranked fourth nationally in the category. Still organizers don’t want to take anything for granted.

“Town-gown is a collaboration which nurtures the delicate relationship of Blacksburg and Virginia Tech through camaraderie, communication, and service for the betterment of the collective community,” said Blacksburg Deputy Town Manager Steven Ross. “Together, Blacksburg and Virginia Tech make this a better place.” 

Ross and Senior Associate Vice President for Student Affairs Frank Shushok co-chair the meetings.

“The interaction between students, town officials, community members and Virginia Tech administrators is something to be celebrated,” said Shushok. “It’s what makes this group quite special.” 

Members of the Virginia Tech Student Life Council are active participants in the process. Council chair Taylor Liverman describes the meetings as educational, thought-provoking and important to maintaining good relations.

“It seems both the town and the university have worked hard to create a dynamic partnership,” said Liverman. “It requires effort and open dialogue to keep that relationship strong.”

This year’s schedule of meetings includes a wide range of topics, with a focus on university enrollment growth. All Town-Gown meetings are held at 6 p.m. in the Great Room of Ambler Johnston Hall on the Virginia Tech campus. Students, faculty, staff and town residents are invited to attend. 

  • Thursday, Sept. 17: Is there a market for new downtown housing? Matt Hanratty, housing and neighborhood services manager for the town of Blacksburg will lead a discussion on the recently released Downtown Housing Study.
  • Thursday, Oct. 15: What is community well-being and why does it matter? Patty Perillo, vice president for student affairs, will lead a discussion on the recently released results of the Gallup/Virginia Tech Well-being Study and what it might reveal about the importance of town-gown efforts.
  • Thursday, Dec. 3: What challenges face Virginia Tech as enrollment grows? Ken Smith, vice provost for resource management and institutional effectiveness, will lead a discussion about Virginia Tech’s plans to grow enrollment and the potential implications for both the town and the university.
  • Thursday, Feb. 18, 2016: What is the proposed Northwest Precinct at Virginia Tech? Jason Soileau, assistant vice president for university planning, will introduce participants to the proposed Northwest Precinct with plans for a new business school, six residential colleges, and a university commons building.
  • Thursday, March 17, 2016: What do you want to ask the president, provost, or mayor about town-gown relations? President Timothy D. Sands, Provost Thanassis Rikakis, and Mayor Ron Rordam will be on hand to facilitate a conversation about town-gown issues, concerns, dreams, and possibilities
  • Thursday, April 21, 2016: Why is art and culture important to Virginia Tech and the Town of Blacksburg? Engage a panel discussion with those thinking about the past, present, and future of arts and culture in Blacksburg.

Dedicated to its motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), Virginia Tech takes a hands-on, engaging approach to education, preparing scholars to be leaders in their fields and communities. As the commonwealth’s most comprehensive university and its leading research institution, Virginia Tech offers 240 undergraduate and graduate degree programs to more than 31,000 students and manages a research portfolio of $513 million. The university fulfills its land-grant mission of transforming knowledge to practice through technological leadership and by fueling economic growth and job creation locally, regionally, and across Virginia.