Welcome Week events have been brewing around campus and online to help new and old Hokies alike find their home at Virginia Tech. To wrap up the week, Gobblerfest 2020 will be held virtually on Sept. 4 from 4 p.m. – 6 p.m, where students will be able to interact with nearly 500 student organizations.

To safely accommodate as many student organizations and attendees as possible, Gobblerfest is going to be offered as a virtual fair in GobblerConnect. Organizations will be able to be filtered by different categories to allow for easier navigation. Attendees can simply log in to GobblerConnect during the event to get started.

“Gobblerfest 2020 is more straightforward than in years past,” said Morgen Snowadzky, assistant director for student organization development, who planned the event alongside Lamar Walker, assistant director of student programming within Student Engagement and Campus Life. “It's really intentional as an event — the point is to help students find organizations and experiences that will help connect them to campus. Students can just hop into their Zoom call and browse the organization’s page without having to wait in a line to get up to the table.”

Students may RSVP for Gobblerfest any time prior to the start of the event and are encouraged to engage with any and all campus organizations that pique their interests. Snowadzky recommended preparing by creating a Top-5 list of organizations students want to learn more about and encourages students to take risks and look into organizations they haven’t explored before.

Preview of what the beginning of Gobblerfest 2020 will look like, as students log in to the portal. Photo courtesy of Morgen Snowadzky.

Screenshot of what gobblerfest will look like online.

As in years past, student organizations from all across campus are participating in Gobblerfest. From Greek life to business clubs to intramurals, students will have a plethora of options for finding their place on campus.

Organization leaders are looking forward to the intimate and organized structure of virtual Gobblerfest, in which students will join breakout Zoom rooms in order to talk with organizations that interest them.

“I'm really looking forward to being able to engage with students in a less crowded environment,” said Isa Diaz, a junior English and multimedia journalism double major in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences. Diaz is editor in chief of Silhouette, Virginia Tech’s literary magazine. “I'm definitely going to take advantage of this year's virtual format to have some really good conversations and garner more interest in the magazine. It'll also be nice to not have to worry about my computer heating up in the sun.”

"I'm really excited to see our student organization leaders step up into the role of helping our new students feel connected to campus,” said Snowadzky. “Organizations are starting to think about how they're going to approach the year, and the leaders are showing strength and resiliency. Gobblerfest is their chance to showcase that.”

GobblerConnect, the Hokie organizations app, lists all student organizations on campus in a searchable database. New students are encouraged to look through the lists prior to Gobblerfest to know which organizations they want to learn more about.

“I'd definitely encourage students to log into GobblerConnect and do some exploring of the different organizations before Gobblerfest,” said Diaz. “That way they can come prepared with questions for us about how to get involved. It never hurts to have a plan of action.”

Though the virtual event is regarded as the kickoff for campus engagement, it is not the end. Student Engagement and Campus Life is planning student organization showcases throughout September to allow more time for organizations and recruits to familiarize themselves with each other.

“The things you’re going to love most in life you may not have even discovered yet,” said Frank Shushok, vice president for student affairs, in a recent wellness video.

Gobblerfest, Welcome Week, and other such events throughout the semester are opportunities for new and returning Hokies to find their place, their people, and their passions.

-Written by Madison Sweezy