Welcome to Blacksburg, new Hokies. Since Virginia Tech recently announced its plans to reopen campus for the fall 2020 semester, you should know which clothes to pack and which clothes to leave behind. Living in a dorm, you might not have the space you’re accustomed to at home.
First, you should familiarize yourself with Blacksburg weather. Since the semester begins during the summer months, the weather will be warm. T-shirts and shorts are an easy go-to for anyone. Cool, light and comfortable clothes are optimal for the warmer months, especially for early season football games at Lane Stadium (if they occur due to COVID-19), exploring downtown Blacksburg or walking around the Duck Pond. Depending on your dorm, you may have air conditioning. If not, the lighter layers are a good option for indoors year-round.
You are not expected to dress up for class, by any means. In fact, you should take advantage of these next four years of not being required to wear professional or business attire. Although, you might want to bring one business-casual outfit for professional events, like career fairs that occur during both semesters on campus.
Walking to your early class, you may want to wear a light jacket or sweatshirt. Even during the warmer months, Blacksburg mornings can be slightly cool. The same advice can be applied for studying in Newman Library.
On the subject of walking, you should have quality shoes. Are your brand-new, white shoes the best choice for walking outside? Probably not. Typically, comfortable and supportive running sneakers are a good option. Especially, if you have to run to your far-away 8 a.m. class that may be in the New Classroom Building, located in the corner of campus, after hitting snooze one too many times. Other distant classroom buildings are Surge Space Building and Goodwin Hall. For dining halls, the furthest choice from the dorms is Turner Place at Lavery Hall. So, wear your walking shoes and bundle up for the cooler months.
Also, you should not be afraid to rep your Hokie gear. You can stock up on all things maroon and orange online at the University Bookstore, HokieSports shop, Campus EmporiumorAlumni Hall. Typically, the University Bookstore offers a relatively cheap combination deal to purchase a maroon effect and an orange effect t-shirt for the themed football games. At Alumni Hall, you can buy a pair of overalls to really show your Hokie spirit for sports events.
However, if you receive and wear a t-shirt that might have ‘What’s a Hokie? I am!’ written across its back, most students will know you are a freshman.
Let’s move onto a necessity you might not have thought of yet: an umbrella. Blacksburg likes to surprise students with occasional heavy downpours, so to be safe, you should keep an umbrella or a rain jacket in your backpack –– at all times. And, it’s not a bad idea to have a pair of rain boots or shoes that can handle rainwater or snow in your possession. The paths on the Drillfield like to flood when it rains.
Depending on where you went to high school, you were likely inside most of the day. However, as a student at Virginia Tech, you will spend a lot more time outside walking to class. For Blacksburg's winters, you will need a suitable outer layer that is not simply a sweatshirt. To get to class from the dorms, you will often have to cross the Drillfield — the open, treeless field in the center of campus. For optimal heat preservation, you should invest in a hooded, mid-thigh or knee-length parka that can handle the Drillfield’s winds. The more winter gear you have in Blacksburg, the better. Brands like Patagonia, The North Face or Columbia have good options for winter coats. If you look for a coat now, you may come across a decent sale.
Although, you should be aware that the third floor of Torgersen Hall and Squires Student Center does get warm in the winter months, so make sure you don’t wear a sweater if you have classes or are studying there. McBryde 100, a generally used auditorium-style classroom can get stuffy, as well as the smaller classrooms in McBryde’s 5-story structure.
If the Hokies’ basketball season occurs with fans present, you will want to wear lighter layers of your Hokie gear to combat Cassell Coliseum’s heat.
Overall, comfortable clothing like sweatshirts, sweatpants and t-shirts are all good choices for a Hokie to wear every day. The previously listed items are generally small, which is optimal for the small storage space traditional style dorms offer, like Slusher Tower and Wing, Pritchard and Vawter, to name a few. But if you want to wear jeans or put together an outfit to go to class, go ahead. You should just be aware that you will be eating, studying and walking many miles in those said jeans and that outfit.
And remember: you're still in a school setting so wear what you think is appropriate for this atmosphere. You can always play it safe by wearing your favorite Virginia Tech gear.