Virginia Tech students will once again be welcomed back to school by Hokie Hi — two weeks of food, street fairs and events designed to help boost morale for the upcoming school year.
Hokie Hi kicked off Aug. 18 with Hokie Helpers, a group of upperclassmen, faculty and staff who help freshmen move in to their dorms.
Notable events include the picnic on Aug. 22 and Gobblerfest on Aug. 27.
Hokie Hi is also a chance for student organizations and clubs to recruit new members. Student organizations often schedule cookouts and picnics that are open to anyone.
“It’s a chance to meet others, have fun and make connections with your academic department,” said Jessica Johns, new student programs coordinator.
One of the oldest events is the picnic in Lane Stadium. According to Johns, it is primarily for new students. Students enter the stadium through the tunnel used by football players, then go sit in the stands. They enjoy free lunches provided by Personal Touch Catering and Dining Services.
While students picnic in the bleachers, they are treated to entertainment from cheerleaders and the marching band, and speeches from football coaches. Last year, 4,510 students attended the event, despite inclement weather.
“It started to rain right before the picnic was about to start,” Johns said. She imagines this year’s picnic will be even bigger.
Another well-attended event is Gobblerfest. Last year, 18,000 people came to the street fair and 3,000 attended the concert. The street fair is not only attended by Tech community but by Blacksburg residents as well. There is a plethora of performers, foods and student organizations with unique stands.
“Gobblerfest was originally conceived to be a combination event that brought student organizations, Virginia Tech Engage and business showcases together,” said Krisztina Roder, associate director for event management. The program is in its third year and is open to student and nonprofit organizations, local businesses, Tech academic departments and Downtown Blacksburg, Inc.
This year, the main community stage will be set up in the Squires Student Center parking lot, and there will also be various performance stages throughout the festival. The salsa, swing and ballroom dancing groups at Tech will be giving demonstrations and lessons. The class of 2012 will host a pep rally and kick off concert, featuring the group Super Mash Brothers. After the concert, there will be a midnight dance party and midnight breakfast.
Other colleges have welcoming weeks, but Johns said part of the reason Tech’s is different is the vast amount of interests covered.
“For us, with Hokie Hi, we have that balance — the social events with academic sessions and athletic events. Then you’ve got student organizations that host. The idea is to try to cater to different student
interests,” Johns said.
For more information on events and schedules, check the event guides available in residence halls and at www.uusa.vt.edu.