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Hokie Family E-Newsletter April 2014

From the Director of Parent and Alumni Relations

The Division of Student Affairs is on a mission to support and enhance family involvement in students’ educational experiences. Why? Because family-centered partnerships contribute to the retention and success of our students.

Our goals are to:

  • Serve as a central resource for families;
  • Communicate regularly with families;
  • Offer families quality information, programs, services , events, and avenues for dialogue; and
  • Engage parents and families as part of the larger university community.

As a result of partnering with us, it is our hope that families will:

  • Be aware of the transitions students and their families face, and the role they can play in creating positive opportunities;
  • Be able to identify DSA and campus resources available to students; and
  • Know when and how to use those resources.

To assess our effectiveness, we conduct an annual survey about our communication efforts, to ensure that both the content and form of our messages are effectively reaching our students’ families. Many of you took part in our survey in January 2014, and we thought it appropriate to share the results with you.

When searching for information, parents and family members most use the following resources:

  • website (82 percent);
  • Hokie Family E-News (49 percent);
  • VT publications (26 percent);
  • Phone or email (24 percent); and
  • It is interesting to note that 10 percent of respondents selected “other” and provided a written response. Among them, the most commonly listed source of information was their own student.

The three things most searched for:

  • Bursar and tuition payment (58 percent)
  • Calendars (58 percent)
  • Hokie Spa information (37 percent)

We are also happy to report that the vast majority―91 percent of those responding to the survey―agreed that Virginia Tech provides a welcoming environment for parents and family members.

Given what we've learned, we are actively working to better provide those things most needed by our families. You can help us in our efforts to serve you better. Let us hear from you. We welcome your stories, ideas, and suggestions about topics you would like to see addressed in the Hokie Family E-news, as well as ways we can better serve you and your student.

If we can assist you in any way, please don’t hesitate to contact us. You can contact me at or 540-231-3284. You can also send a message to if you have questions, comments, or concerns.

I look forward to seeing many of you at Spring Family Weekend 2014, April 25―27.

Penny Helms White
Director of Parent and Alumni Relations
New Student and Family Programs
Division of Student Affairs

Time is running out to register for Spring Family Weekend!

The deadline to register for Spring Family Weekend is April 14. The Spring Family Weekend website has been updated with even more activities. A list of university offices that will host Spring Family Weekend open hours on Friday, April 25 from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. is now online.

In the spirit of Ut Prosim, the Virginia Tech Student Athlete Advisory Committee is sponsoring a canned food drive at the Spring Football Game on Saturday, April 26. All canned goods collected will benefit Feeding America and 209 Manna, a Virginia Tech student-run food bank. There will be boxes at the Family Weekend information desk and at Lane Stadium. Please consider bringing a canned food item to help fill our local food banks.

To find out about this and many more of the exciting things planned for you, visit the Spring Family Weekend website. Also, see the Virginia Tech Visitor's Guide for more information on where to stay, where to eat, and more.

Spring 2014 commencement information

Spring commencement lodging: On-campus lodging and dining packages are still available for families and guests of graduating students during the weekend of spring commencement. A lottery for the air-conditioned rooms and suites is open. The deadline to register is Monday, May 5 at noon. Visit the commencement housing website for more information about pricing and lodging/meals options.

Complete commencement information: The Virginia Tech commencement website has been updated with information on college and departmental ceremonies.

‘In the Loop’ podcast: Let’s talk about commencement!

This two-part edition of ‘In the Loop’  gives you the low-down on everything commencement.

  • Dan Taylor, professor of Agricultural and Applied Economics, is chairing the university’s commencement committee. He gives an insider’s view on what goes into planning the ceremonies, Hokie traditions to watch for, the weather factor, and how to spot your student on the field.
  • Eric Wininger, assistant director for Conference Services, talks about convenient and low-cost on-campus lodging and dining packages for families and guests of graduating students.

‘In the Loop’ is produced specifically for the Hokie Family E-News by Virginia Tech University Relations. ‘In the Loop’ addresses topics of interest to Hokie families. You can listen to previous editions of the podcasts at the ‘In the Loop’ archives.

University Scholarships and Financial Aid

The financial aid award process for 2014-15 is in full swing. After University Scholarships and Financial Aid receives the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), we will review it and determine if we need any additional information. If so, we will notify the student through their VT email and also through Hokie SPA under “Financial Aid Information.” The requirements are located under the “Eligibility Requirements” link. Many types of aid have limited funding and we encourage students to return requested item(s) as quickly as possible.

Once awarded, students should pay close attention to deadlines regarding certain types of aid. Students awarded Federal Work Study and/or a Federal Perkins Loan have until June 1, 2014 to accept the aid. Instructions on how to accept financial aid are provided on Hokie SPA.

University Scholarships and Financial Aid will begin to award financial aid for summer terms in early April. Students should enroll in summer classes as quickly as possible to be considered for summer financial aid. Once we begin awarding summer aid, we will automatically review students once they are registered for classes. No additional application is necessary. Summer ends the 2013-2014 academic year, and funding options may be limited.

University Scholarships and Financial Aid encourages parents to subscribe to our monthly email newsletter, Flash.mail. This publication contains timely information, deadlines, and scholarship listings among other items. It also contains information from the University Bursar’s office each month.

Office of the University Bursar

  • Is your student enrolling for Summer Sessions 2014? Bill and payment deadlines for students enrolled in Summer Session I and/or Summer Session II:
    • Summer Session I: Billed April 15 with payment due date May 12.
    • Summer Session II: Billed May 15 with payment due date June 10.
  • Is your student graduating in May? Please be sure all the student account charges are paid in full to prevent a hold on the student’s diploma and transcript.
  • Attention Authorized Payers: E-bills are posted for your review whenever there is activity on your student's account. An e-bill notification does not necessarily mean that an amount is owed, but will mean that something has changed on your student’s account, such as a new charge, new or changed financial aid, a budget tuition debit taken, etc. Also, please be certain to have your student update your email address for these notifications as needed.
  • Video tutorials: The University Bursar is please to present video tutorials to aid in our student’s financial success! Select any video link below to view tutorial subjects.
  • Please visit our website, email, or call 540-231-6277. We are located in the Student Services Building, Suite 150, 800 Washington Street S.W., Blacksburg, Va., 24061. Our business hours, excluding federal, state, and university authorized closures, are 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. Phone hours are 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. When contacting us by email or phone, please be certain to include or have available the student account number and assigned FERPA passcode. If you do not have a FERPA passcode, contact the student.

End-of-spring 2014 residence hall move-out

Students must check out of their rooms within 24 hours after their last exam, and no later than noon on Thursday, May 15, if they are not directly involved with the commencement ceremony. Graduating students, those directly involved in commencement, or those who have a member of the immediate family graduating should request a late check-out online. Students must log in and submit their reason for late check-out.

Students who live in buildings used for commencement housing have been receiving notices and visits from Housing and Residence Life staff to check their status for the end of the semester, their departure plans, and their involvement with commencement. This is done to maximize the amount of space available for commencement guests staying in the residence halls. Residence halls will close for all students, except those holding 12-month housing contracts in Donaldson-Brown Graduate Life Center, at 12 noon on Sunday, May 18.

Summer 2014 on-campus housing and spring-to-summer transition

Summer is a great time to catch up, get a head, or take classes that might not fit in a busy academic schedule. We encourage students who are enrolled in summer school to consider the convenience of living on campus. Students who want to stay on campus can review details and sign up now online. We have plenty of space in the summer months, so there is no housing lottery; however, the air-conditioned spaces fill up quickly.

Students who sign up for summer housing by Friday, April 11 will be able to leave their belongings in their spring housing room. When they return on Sunday, May 25 for first summer session, they can move their things into their new rooms. This is always a popular option for our students who are staying with us for the summer months.

Summer 2014 dining options

If your student is planning to attend summer session classes and wants to keep the great dining experience they’ve enjoyed during the year, they can easily add a dining plan for the summer sessions for which they will be enrolled.

Off-campus students wanting to add a dining plan may e-mail, visit Hokie Passport Services in the Student Services Building to submit a summer dining plan request, or complete and mail in the form provided in the summer housing packet. On-campus residents will have their dining plans added automatically using the housing/dining contract.Sign-up for summer dining plans is not available online. More information regarding summer dining plans is available online.

Summer housing and dining rates

This summer’s housing and dining rates are available online. We are happy to report that the housing rate for this summer is the same as last summer. In an effort to contain costs for students and encourage them to consider the benefits of summer classes at Virginia Tech, we hope that keeping the housing cost the same will assist students and their families.

Dining Services and Hokie Passport information

  • NEW! Check out the new Hokie Passport Services’ Transaction History system: Transaction History on a student’s dining plan, Dining Dollars, Flex Additions, and Hokie Passport account may be accessed 24/7 by logging in to the Hokie Passport website with a valid student PID and password.
  • Spring dining plans and fall rollover dining plan funds: Please note that all initial spring 2014 dining plan funds and any rollover dining plan funds must be spent by May 14, 2014 at 8:00 p.m. Flex Additions, however, will carry from semester to semester as long as the student has one of the three major dining plans, otherwise they will revert to Dining Dollars. Hokie Passport funds and Dining Dollars will remain on a student’s account until graduation or formal separation from Virginia Tech.
  • Graduate refunds: Upon graduation, students may be eligible for a refund of Hokie Passport/Dining Dollars/Flex Additions accounts. The university will refund the remaining credit balance on the accounts, less a $15.00 refund-processing fee per account. Initial dining plan funds, Flex Dollars, and rollover balances are non-refundable.
  • Visit, email, or call Hokie Passport Services at 540-231-5121 if you have questions or need additional information. For questions regarding dining center hours of operation, please visit Dining Services online or call 540-231-3933.

Off-campus housing: Know your lease

It is the time of the year when off-campus students are deciding what to do about their apartments over the summer. Most students sign a twelve month lease when renting apartments. Because a lease is a legally binding contract that requires an individual to pay rent, students who have a lease that extends over the summer are responsible for making payments. If a student is living off-campus and does not plan to stay in a property that is still under lease, there are two options:

  • Continue to pay the rent without occupying the property; or
  • Sublet the property.

Subletting is the act of renting a property to another individual. Now is the time to begin searching for a sub-letter if this is the route chosen.

Of course, it is important to review the current lease for any stipulations or limitations. Speaking to a property manager is also useful. If subletting is allowed, we have several ways to help you:

We have sample sublet agreements available at the Welcome Center in Squires Student Center. Student Legal Services office, located in 143 Squires Student Center, is available to help students with all of the legal details—and it’s free! You can call 540-231-4720 to make an appointment. As always, feel free to email Virginia Tech Off-Campus Housing at with any questions.

Is your student immersed in the job search process? Career Services is here to help

Whether you have a senior searching for permanent employment or an underclassman looking for summer opportunities, please encourage your student to visit Career Services for assistance.

The resume and cover letter are the foundation of a successful job search. These documents may be critiqued through walk-in advising or by scheduling an appointment with a career services advisor. The links below will assist students in getting started on these documents.

Does your student feel confident about the interview process? Interview Stream and a Mock Interview can offer the practice students need to excel during an interview. The following links share how to utilize these resources and give more information about the interview process.

Career Services has many resources to assist students in their job search. Visit the link below for an overview of these resources. Our career advisors are happy to work with students as they determine the most helpful resources for their job search.

Schiffert Health Center: Help your Hokie master the art and science of sleeping

College life is stressful, exciting, exhausting, and fun. Classes, homework, projects, friends, and socializing often get priority over sleep. Most Hokies don’t get the quantity or quality of sleep they need to perform at their best. Temporary and chronic sleep deprivation can affect many aspects of life and health from academics and athletics, to physical health and mental health. Sleep deprivation also affects cancer risk, driving safety, memory, cognitive ability, immune response, emotional balance, and a host of problems you probably don’t want your Hokie to experience.

You may have noticed that your student’s sleep patterns are very different than when they were living at home. You also may be wondering what is the best way to help your student get better sleep? We have the answer for you! Encourage your Hokie to attend a Sleep Better Techniques workshop offered through Health Education at the Schiffert Health Center. This hour-long workshop covers the importance of sleep and discusses many behavior changes that can help your student sleep better. The workshop is free and offered numerous times throughout the semester. More information about the Sleep Better Techniques workshop―and our other health workshops―is available online.

A message from the Virginia Tech Police Department

As we head into spring, we often see a spike in larceny cases involving money from wallets and backpacks, books, cellphones and other electronics, and bikes. These thefts usually occur in the common areas of our residence halls, rooms that are left unlocked, and in campus community areas such as Squires Student Center, Torgersen, McComas, Newman Library, War Memorial gym, and the Graduate Life Center.

Many of these incidents are crimes of opportunity because property has been left unattended for extended periods of time. Please share the simple tips below with your student to help ensure his or her property stays safe:

  • Lock your door: There are, on average, 250 thefts each year at Virginia Tech. Residence hall thefts can be thwarted simply by locking the door. Even though windows are easy to break, burglars tend to use doors. The more difficult or the more time it takes them to enter, the more likely they will move on to an easier target.
  • Keychain safety: Never attach your name or address to your keychain, including your Hokie Passport. Remember that your Hokie Passport is personal information, as well as a key to your building. With a Hokie Passport, a threat could find your room using search on the Virginia Tech website, and use your passport to get into the building.
  • Engrave valuables: In the event of a theft, you are much more likely to have your item returned if there is an identifiable mark distinguishing yours from others. "Black laptop" isn't all that descriptive. Students may checkout engravers for free at our police department.

3.2 Run in Remembrance

The 3.2 Run in Remembrance will be held Saturday, April 12 at 9:00 a.m. The Run is held to remember the 32 Hokies who lost their lives on April 16, 2007. The event brings fellow Hokies together to feel the support of the community, and celebrate the lives of our friends and family members. Registration may be completed online.

The Virginia Tech Alumni Association invites you to attend events in your area

The Virginia Tech Alumni Association invites the families of current and former students to participate in alumni events held around the country. We hope you are interested in connecting with other Hokies in your local community and at events on campus. Upcoming events include:

  • April 12 – South Florida Chapter: Annual Spring Picnic, 12:00-4:00 p.m.

Quiet Waters Park, Deerfield Beach, Fla.

Cost is $10 for adults and $5 for kids, which includes all you can eat and drink. For the adult price, it also includes one raffle ticket. RSVP to Scott Fairbrother at by Thursday, April 10. Quiet Waters Park is located at 401 S. Powerline Road, Deerfield Beach, Fla. (west side between Hillsboro Boulevard and SW 10th Street).

  • April 22 – National Capital Region Chapter: A Conversation with General Fullhart, 6:00 p.m.

Air Force Association, Arlington, VA

Major General Randal D. Fullhart, USAF (Ret.), the Commandant of Cadets of the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets, is coming to the Northern VA area! Join the VT National Capital Region on Tuesday, April 22 for an enlightening discussion on the past, present, and future of Virginia Tech's proud military tradition. There will be a light reception and networking event at 6:00 p.m. Seating will be on a first come first served basis. For more information, visit

  • April 24 – Loudoun County Chapter: 24th Annual VT Golf Outing, 1:00 p.m.

Loudoun Golf and Country Club, Purcellville, VA

Registration includes lunch, golf with cart, awards ceremony, and heavy hors d’oeuvres following golf. For more information, contact Keith Seekford at All proceeds go to the scholarship fund for incoming Virginia Tech students from Loudoun County Public Schools.

  • April 25 – Charlotte Chapter: 15th Annual Charlotte VT Alumni Golf Classic, 11:00 a.m.

Pine Lake Country Club, Charlotte, NC

The Charlotte Chapter of the Virginia Tech Alumni Association invites you to join them for the 15th Annual Charlotte VT Alumni Golf Classic at Pine Lake Country Club. Your participation benefits Charlotte area high school students who will be attending Virginia Tech. All proceeds from this tournament fund the chapter’s scholarship endowment. To register, please visit

  • April 26 – Tidewater Chapter: The Big Event at Cedar Hall Farms

Cedar Hall Farms, 1501 Gum Bridge Rd., Virginia Beach, Va.

Carry on the Ut Prosim tradition by volunteering at Hearts and Hoofbeats, an event benefiting Vanguard Landing. Vanguard Landing is a community for adults with intellectual disabilities that offers walking trails, gardens and orchards, horses, shops, classrooms, and more. Volunteers are needed for registration, logistics, hospitality, decorations, and set-up. For details, visit or contact Kate Petti at or 757-620-3114.

  • May 3 – Charlottesville Chapter: 2nd Annual Golf Tournament, 1:00 p.m.

Stony Creek Golf Course, Wintergreen, Va.

4 person teams, partial teams will be paired together. Registration includes golf, cart, and post-tournament dinner. For more information, contact

  • May 16 – Tidewater Chapter: Virginia Tech Alumni Association Tidewater Golf Classic, 12:30 p.m.

Heron Ridge Golf Club, 2973 Heron Ridge Dr., Virginia Beach, Va.

This Hokie favorite puts the fun back in fundraising. It's a day of tailgates at the tee box and time with the popular Hokie Hospitality Crew. Registration is due May 9, but spaces fill quickly, so register early. Price includes golfing and admission to a reception following the tournament. All proceeds benefit the chapter scholarship fund. Sponsorship opportunities are still available. For details, visit our tournament page or contact David Baird at or 757-587-6662.

  • May 31 – Tidewater Chapter: Hokie Jubilee, 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

VT Hampton Roads Graduate Center, 1444 Diamond Springs Rd., Virginia Beach, Va.

Join the VTAA Tidewater Chapter for great food, music, cornhole, games, a plant sale, and more at the annual Hokie Jubilee (formerly the Pig Pickin')! Tickets: $15/adults, $5/kids 5-12, children under 5 are FREE.

  • Drillfield Series: The Drillfield Series offers a variety of weekend programs for alumni, families, and friends that are centered on special themes and include a stay on campus. For a complete listing of upcoming events, please visit the Drillfield Series online.

Want even more news about Virginia Tech?

Virginia Tech News and Information offers a daily email that serves as your connection to the latest Virginia Tech news and information. Delivered overnight, Monday through Friday, it includes the latest news, campus notices, events, and Blacksburg weather forecast, with extensive links to the Virginia Tech News website for detailed coverage. The student edition email is distributed every Wednesday during the academic year to all Virginia Tech students. Faculty, staff, parents, alumni, family, friends, and those interested in receiving either the daily or weekly email can subscribe online.

The Facebook and Twitter icons on the top right side of this web page will connect you to the Division of Student Affairs social media pages. Join in the lively conversation and find out what is happening on campus each day. In the same spot, you can also check out current and past editions of the ‘In the Loop’ podcast, produced specifically for Virginia Tech families.


Do you have comments or suggestions for future issues of Hokie Family E-news? Send them to DSA New Student and Family Programs.