Inactivity isn’t the antidote for COVID-19 and fun isn’t the enemy of fighting its spread.

Since March, the Virginia Tech community has taken great strides in modifying everyday life to help mitigate the impact of the virus on the New River Valley region. Many of these efforts have been accompanied by critical messages detailing what staying safe means individuals can’t do.

But while restrictions according to public health guidelines are extremely important, it’s also important to remember all the engaging activities individuals can do without sacrificing a reasonable level of safety.

“When I think of all the things we typically enjoy doing during in the fall semester – trail riding on bikes or horses, hiking to see leaves, carving pumpkins, etc. – there are lots of things that COVID hasn't affected,” said Laura Hungerford, head of the Virginia Tech Public Health Program, housed in the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine. “Sometimes it’s easy for us to automatically assume activities that are enjoyable are also risky, but that’s just not always the case. That false thinking can actually contribute to pandemic fatigue and make the restrictions we do need seem more difficult.”

To highlight some of the many safe and engaging activities available to Hokies, Virginia Tech Student Affairs has launched the Hokies Can Do campaign.

Logo for Hokies Can Do
Hokies Can Do logo

“We are excited for the launch of the Hokies Can Do campaign! At its heart, the campaign is designed to help students find fun, safe outlets to connect with other students and our campus,” said Heather Wagoner, Director of Student Engagement and Campus Life. “We recognize how challenging this fall semester has been and we want to assure students have a clear understanding of all the great things they can do."

This effort will include stories, photos, and videos of events and people that illustrate some of the innovative and creative things the Virginia Tech can do to stay connected, as well as ideas and guidance aimed to make activities easier and safer.

people sitting in the grass with masks on
With masks and proper physical distancing, there's lots to do at and around campus. Photo by Mary Desmond for Virginia Tech.

One event on the horizon filled with “Can Dos” – carnival games, pumpkin painting, fall photos, and more – is Student Affairs’ Fall Fest on Oct. 24 from 12 to 5 p.m. in the Squires Parking Lot.

Other ideas for activities you can do:

Rec Sports has variety of safe in-person and virtual offerings and recently launched a student exercise incentive program, Hokie Movement Club, to help students stay motivated and active throughout the semester by offering high-quality prizes and rewards.

GobblerConnect is a great place for students to find ways to engage with other Hokies. Keep up with on-campus events sponsored by university departments and registered student organizations from your phone by downloading the Corq app for iPhone or Android.

Check out the Breakzone for bowling, billiards, etc. and Perspective Gallery for fine art and activities.

Hokie Wellness provides a variety of virtual and safe in-person workshops, events, and activities for students, faculty, and staff, including Kuro mindfulness and a series on fostering resiliency.

Cook Counseling Center also has a variety of resources to help students coping with the pandemic, including a support group and weekly morning and afternoon mindfulness meetings.

On-campus residents can explore Dining Services with three of their pod buddies or preorder food to-go via Grubhub.

And of course you can always study. University Libraries makes that easy with study space students can reserve online. Don’t forget you can study in Squires Student Center too!

Written by Travis Williams