Orientation 2019: What students, families, and the campus community can expect
June 14, 2019
When the university welcomes its largest-ever class of new students and their families to campus this summer for Orientation, some of the details will be different — more boxed lunches, expanded sessions, new faces — but others remain the same.
Attendees should expect plenty of opportunities to connect, learn key information, and experience unmatched Hokie hospitality.
“Orientation is a big step in the process of becoming a Hokie,” said Patty Perillo, vice president for Student Affairs. “We are committed to ensuring that all students and families have an exceptional experience that helps students transition smoothly and successfully to Virginia Tech.”
To accommodate increased numbers, the university added an additional session and expanded capacities per session. Sessions for first-year students and families will take place July 8 through Aug. 1.
Tours, academic advising, class registration, picking up a Hokie Passport ID card, and learning about campus resources are part of the agenda. Students and families also have chances to experience campus life, including residence halls and the university’s award-winning dining services. Complete Orientation schedules will be available on the Hokies on Track app.
“Students will gain a better understanding of how to navigate Virginia Tech,” said Angela Simmons, assistant vice president for Student Affairs. “It’s a valuable experience.”
Countless hours of work are going into Orientation.
By the time the lights dim and the first few energetic notes of “Enter Sandman” — Virginia Tech’s unofficial theme song — pulse through Moss Arts Center’s Anne and Ellen Fife Theatre and electrify the audience during the first official welcome, New Student and Family Programs (NSFP) will have worked with more than 45 campus and community partners on a wide variety of details.
“We have 56 team members and seven returning leaders,” said Lizette Rebolledo, director of New Student and Family Programs. “We train leaders in a semester-long course in the spring. This year, we will have 1,100 boxed lunches made each day. And we worked with Virginia Tech’s Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning to add a session on being successful in the classroom. We are so excited to lead these students through their Orientation experience and beyond.”
NSFP plans Orientation guided by the university’s mission to care for the whole student and to set students on a path to make the most of their Virginia Tech experience.
“We know transitioning to college can be exciting but also present challenges,” said Dean of Students Byron Hughes, who leads a seasoned team of professionals in the Dean of Students Office ready to offer support and point students in the right direction for any issues that arise. “We want to care for students and make them aware of resources so they can thrive.”
Rebolledo, Hughes, Simmons, and Kimberly Smith, assistant provost, academic advising initiatives, will be among the speakers welcoming students and families this year.
Smith has advice for those attending.
“Ask questions, ask questions, ask questions,” she said. “Students and academic advisors should work collaboratively to make sure students understand requirements and the components of a Virginia Tech degree.”
She also encouraged students to come prepared to “think beyond the major” and dream big.
“We want students to know they will be challenged, beginning during Orientation, to think about who they want to be and what problems or issues they want to solve in the world. They need to begin to think about academic, personal, and professional goals.”
Students from the incoming class, the most diverse in the university’s history, represent 46 states and 53 countries. The class includes more than 1,000 first-generation college students.
Visitors to the Blacksburg campus and the campus community should be aware of scheduled road closures and new traffic patterns this summer because of construction.
Written by Tammy Tripp. Photo and video by Christina Franusich.