Throughout the month of October, Hokie Passport holders will enjoy downtown Blacksburg at 10-20 percent off.
For the fifth year, “30 Days of Blacksburg” will bring discounts from 26 local merchants to Virginia Tech students. The tradition was initiated by a partnership between Virginia Tech’s Student Government Association (SGA) and Downtown Blacksburg, Inc.
Chantal Ghoussoub recalls her first time finding out about the event.
“I remember I heard about 30 Days when I was a sophomore. I’m one of those people that’s always on the lookout for freebies and discounts — I’m that Groupon gal. I got my friends to go downtown with me and we used up a ton of the discounts. We really liked it. I’m planning on going again this year. I’m really a big fan of it,” Ghoussoub said.
Now, Ghoussoub organizes the event as SGA director of community initiatives, a subgroup that strives to make sure the SGA "isn’t only there to service students."
“One of the big initiatives of the Student Government Association is to service our local community, and so they were finding, around five or six years ago, that they weren’t doing all that they could to service our community, even though they had events such as Relay (for Life) and Big Event that were started in SGA,” Ghoussoub said. “They wanted to give back to the community in a larger way, and we wanted to do it through monetary means, so (30 Days of Blacksburg) was invented.”
SGA also recognized that vendors are not able to advertise on campus per campus policy. To compensate, the group came up with the idea of a month-long advertisement campaign.
“They’re not allowed to come on campus and distribute any fliers," Ghoussoub said. "So the whole reason that they approached us is that they wanted another avenue for advertisement, and of course they want increased business, so we thought that the best way to do this would be to do a whole month of basically just advertisement and student discounts."
Starting Oct. 1, students can find discounts in stores scattered throughout downtown Blacksburg. Some of the stores listed on the event calendar include Cabo Fish Taco, The Cellar Restaurant, Vintage Touch and newcomer New Image Barbers/Stylist.
“This will be our first year,” Lamont Johnson, a New Image manager, said of the 30 Days of Blacksburg event. “We’re working on branding the name of New Image a little more and we want to get our name out a lot more with the students at Tech. I think (30 Days of Blacksburg) is a really good opportunity for merchants to express their gratitude toward the students that are here.”
Freshman music and biochemistry double major Zachary Kemp appreciated the event for providing newcomers to Tech a reason to explore what downtown Blacksburg has to offer.
“It’s good that they’re offering this experience, especially for people who are new to campus to get coordinated with downtown businesses, so that they know where everything is and what’s available — with options that aren’t necessarily on campus,” Kemp said.
A full list of businesses and their discount schedules can be found via social media.
“We have a Facebook link that’s up and it has the calendar of events," Ghoussoub said. "It lists every day which vendors are participating as well as what kind of discounts they’re giving, because sometimes it can be 10 or 20 percent, and then sometimes it’s just a freebie."