I am a junior studying Consumer Studies and French at Virginia Tech. I come from Northern New Jersey and am a member of Greek life at VT. I am very active with the Hokie community and can often be found volunteering my time around Blacksburg, or giving people who missed the bus a ride to campus!
Community. Many colleges boast a sense of community, bond and respect among their students as a positive to attending their college, but instead of an added bonus it should be a requirement for prospective students on their list of wants in a dream school.
Virginia Tech is known most infamously for the terrible events that took place on April 16, 2007. But to those who attend or have attended Virginia Tech, it is more identified with its motto, Ut Prosim. “That I may serve” is the first thing ingrained into the minds of the students during orientation, and it sticks with them throughout their time at school. Many people attribute our motto to our participation in campus wide community service each April, which is referred to as the “Big Event”. The Big Event is a chance for all the students to give back and volunteer to the families that live in Blacksburg and give so much to our school. We participate in everything from yard work, to helping with home improvement projects. While this is an event that oozes community and giving back on a public scale, many people outside of the Virginia Tech community know little of the giving back and sense of family that takes place on campus. Most of the people who have experienced the sense of community first hand often refer to it as “Hokie Respect”.
As a student, I can attest to many random acts of kindness and showings of community on campus, not just being experienced by myself, but seeing happen to others. If you have ever taken a tour of our campus you will for sure have heard a student shout, “LETS GO!” to which every student in hearing distance replies with, “HOKIES”. No matter where you are, be it studying abroad, or wandering in your hometown, Hokie respect and community will find you. It is almost expected to see members of the Virginia Tech community approaching each other for wearing maroon and orange, and immediately sharing with each other that they are school mates or that they have attended Virginia Tech, or that they are about to attend. It is a worldwide community that some people jokingly refer to as “drinking the maroon and orange Kool-Aid”. Often as the semester ends, fellow students with more money on their meal plan than needed will pay for the meals of other students, even if they have never interacted with them in their life. Hokie respect is also exhibited at football games, where, no matter the opponent, or the outcome of the game, Hokies treat the other team and their fans with the same respect that they treat each other with. There are no “booing” or insults thrown in our Lane Stadium, only cheers of triumph and groans of defeat.
Perhaps the most outstanding example of community I have experienced, being a fellow Hokie, was when I was a lost freshman, trying to walk to the grocery store to get milk for my cereal on a Sunday. I was in tears because I could not navigate the town I had just been dropped off in, and was sitting on the side of the road trying to calm down. A car full of junior girls pulls up instantly identifying with me as Hokies, and asking where I need to go, they insist on taking me there. I nervously tell them that I just wanted to go the grocery store, and they laugh, tell me they are going too, and to hop in! I do so, and proceed to get not only a ride to the store, but they pay for my milk, telling me that it is what the Hokie family does. We are a community and we look out for each other, and they only hope that when I am a junior I pay it forward to a freshman as well.
Now I am a junior, and I have not only paid it forward once, but three times, trying to instill the same kind of community and respect that Blacksburg and Virginia Tech have instilled upon me when I was a new student.
Community should always be on the list of a prospective students top five reasons to attend a university or college, because without the community aspect, how can you expect to find a home where you will spend the next four plus years? Whether it is giving you a ride when you get lost, paying for someone’s meal when they are low on meal plan money, or even going up to the person wearing the Virginia Tech sweatshirt you notice when you are half way around the world, community is one trait you should not matriculate without.