This summer, before students even arrive at Virginia Tech for the start of their undergraduate college careers, the class of 2012 will be the first class offered an opportunity to take part in Hokie Camp, an optional, two-day retreat at the Smith Mountain Lake 4-H Center in Wirtz, Va., near Roanoke.
Hokie Camp, a non-mandatory welcoming experience, will be held Aug. 11-12 and will provide nearly 300 new students an opportunity to learn more about time-honored university traditions, respect for diversity, and the community-oriented spirit that thrives throughout the Virginia Tech campus and Town of Blacksburg.
More importantly, Hokie Camp will give the newest members of the Virginia Tech community a chance to begin forming relationships built upon common interests and diverse backgrounds before classes even start. This new, first-year experience for undergraduate students will also help them learn what it means to be a Hokie from camp counselors, faculty, and staff members who already possess the qualities of an outstanding Hokie.
Virginia Tech's Vice President for Student Affairs Zenobia Lawrence Hikes, interested faculty and staff members, and student leaders molded the idea of Hokie Camp after several months of in-depth conversations and meetings.
College administrators recognize that colleges and universities, including Virginia Tech, have to be proactive in offering a well-structured and exciting first-year experience to undergraduate students. Universities must engage first-year students — helping them to become involved on campus, allowing them opportunities to meet their peers and participate in open dialogues. Clubs and organizations and even interests in recreational sports or other student activities should be enticing to new members on campus.
Hokie Camp, which is modeled after camp programs used by other universities throughout the country, is unique because it is the first known camp experience to be offered by a college or university in Virginia.
It is not unlike Virginia Tech to be a pioneer in exploring new and innovative ways to offer a comprehensive educational experience for undergraduate students. It is an idea that the Division of Student Affairs supports wholeheartedly. The division is committed to offering a holistic college experience that promotes personal and professional standards of ethical behavior and good citizenship. That and so much more is exactly what Hokie Camp will offer first-year students at Virginia Tech.
In addition to the implementation of the exciting new endeavor that is Hokie Camp, Virginia Tech’s undergraduate students also attend New Student Orientation. Orientation is the first stepping stone in a student’s transition to college life at Virginia Tech. During that time, students register for their fall semester courses, meet current and other incoming students, receive their personal identification card, and much more.
Year after year the number of new students and their families attending Virginia Tech’s orientation sessions continues to grow. In the summer of 2007, 98 percent of new students and their families attended orientation sessions.
New students are keenly aware that college life is just the beginning of adulthood. It allows them time to experience a new sense of freedom and take on more responsibility. During Hokie Hi Welcome Week, Virginia Tech students are offered an opportunity to check out a collection of events held during the first two weeks of the fall semester. These events are designed to welcome new students to the Virginia Tech community while at the same time welcome returning students back to campus.
During Hokie Hi Welcome Week many events are hosted throughout the campus community, including the Hokie Spirit Picnic, where nearly 8,000 Hokies come together for a fun-filled picnic in Lane Stadium. There’s also the Student Organization Showcase, highlighting more than 200 student-run organizations where students can find opportunities to get involved. (Tip: students should join a club within their major and then they should join one just for fun!) There also is the much-anticipated Welcome Back Kickoff and Pep Rally. Each event is carefully planned with Virginia Tech students in mind.
It is important to note that all students, not just the newest Hokies, are given the opportunity to become involved on campus, meet new friends, and to learn how extraordinarily special the Virginia Tech community is.
Look through previous Spotlight stories