A welcome message to new students and families from Virginia Tech
August 5, 2019
Dear New Hokie and New Hokie Family,
I hope you have had a wonderful summer, were able to experience Orientation, and are preparing to begin your college career. Virginia Tech is simply not the same without students on campus, so my colleagues and I look forward to welcoming you to your new home!
I communicated with you earlier this summer about our enrollment surge and I wanted to connect with you again to share important information that will help you navigate your new environment. This message is specific to the issues that are most significant for you at this time. A comprehensive resource for even more detail is the VT23 FAQ web page.
You may have seen the important update article we published last week and I wanted to expand on some of the issues addressed:
Housing – As promised, we have been able to accommodate all students who wanted housing. Know that we consider the hotels that we are using this year as our campus residence halls and will provide student and professional staff, social opportunities, and other valuable educational programs as we do in all of our halls. Also, know that we are doing all things possible to ensure the halls on campus are conducive to the living and learning environment that Hokies expect.
Dining – Every year, our dining halls are full at the beginning of the semester as new students figure out their schedules and returning students use the dining centers as a place to reconnect with friends. There is no doubt that increased enrollments this year will accentuate this. Dining Services has new strategies to manage the enrollments and will unequivocally be able to accommodate all students during all meal times. However, there are personal choices that students can make to avoid lines and wait times.
Here is a snapshot of what Dining Services will do to ensure Hokies can eat well:
- Increase the total number of operating hours in the centers by 200 hours each week (6,300 additional hours for the academic year).
- Extend operating hours in all main dining centers, including breakfast at Owens starting at 7:30 a.m.
- Strategically place food trucks for high volume locations and times.
- Significantly increase “Grab and Gobble” options (including full meals).
- Upgrade technology including six new self-ordering and payment kiosks in select dining centers.
The bottom line is this: we can feed all students well and with the highest quality of service! However, you need to choose your times and dining centers wisely so you do not stand in lines longer than necessary. Look for more information on Dining Services’ social media and web pages.
Counseling – Last year, a Mental Health Task Force was commissioned to identify ways that we can continue to support the increased need for counseling services. As a result of this task force, we are launching a Mental Health Initiative to actualize all recommendations. Additionally, we continue to maintain a counselor-to-student ratio considered best practice by accreditation standards. We will always invest in and care about the well-being of our students.
Blacksburg Transit (BT) – We know that students need buses to access campus and the local area. We have been working with the Town of Blacksburg to increase the number of buses and bus routes while extending service in high traffic areas. We encourage you to download the BT app and begin to familiarize yourself with route times, frequencies, and locations.
Community – There are many, many ways you will know that you are welcome at Virginia Tech! And there are many ways we work to foster community and create a sense of belonging. We encourage you to connect with or attend any of the following to find a sense of place here:
- Welcome Week, GobblerFest, and GobblerNights
- Your residence halls -- get to know your hall mates and Resident Advisor
- Faculty members and staff on-campus who want to serve as mentors
- First-generation college student initiatives
- Cranwell International Center
- Cultural and Community Centers (American Indian and Indigenous Community; Asian Cultural Engagement; Black Cultural; El Centro (LatinX); Intercultural Engagement; LGBTQ+; Veterans; and Women)
- Hokie Wellness (including a new Financial Wellness program)
- Dean of Students Office
- GobblerConnect -- your connection to nearly 800 student organizations, including faith and interfaith communities
- Visit our Student Centers and Student Engagement and Campus Life
- Recreational Sports for exercise, physical activity, and intramural sports
As I stated in my Orientation welcome, we want you to fully ExperienceVT. We are committed to you and we want you to thrive -- not just survive -- at Virginia Tech. We want you to learn, develop, and grow during your time here to become the best version of yourself. And, we are doing all that we can to ensure that the student experience is an amazing one --- one that students have come to know and love.
Should you have more questions before your arrival, please check out “You’re In, Now What?” – an online resource we have created just for you, our newest Hokies, because we care about you and are committed to your success as students and as individuals!
Enjoy the rest of your summer! We are actively preparing for and anticipating your arrival!
Patricia A. Perillo
Vice President for Student Affairs