WELCOME BACK: Fall 2015 event preview

Originally published by the Collegiate Times as Lifestyles.

For freshmen and older Hokies alike, fall semester can get overwhelming fast, with move-in, syllabus week, club meetings and scouring the web to see if it’s possible to maybe get that $600 textbook just a little bit cheaper. To balance the weight of academia and socialization (looking at you, new roommate), here are some events to distract, de-stress and delight. It’s no wonder why Hokies have been recently been named the second happiest group of students around by the Princeton Review.

 For students living on campus and moving in on August 20, sit back and relax with a movie, sponsored by Virginia Tech’s New Student and Family Programs and hosted by the Black Student Alliance and the Virginia Tech Union. Starting at 9 p.m., “Pitch Perfect 2” will be playing in Burruss Hall (moved from the Drillfield due to expected storms); come socialize with new hallmates and old friends.

The three organizations have also planned a visit by veteran hypnotist Doug MacCraw and his comedy show on August 21 at 7 p.m. in Burruss Auditorium. MacCraw’s experience across corporate gigs, theme parks, cruise ships and college campuses makes his first appearance at Virginia Tech one that should not be missed -- especially with complimentary popcorn and cotton candy.

“Our biggest goal is to provide quality educational and social entertainment that represents the diverse culture of Virginia Tech’s students and its community,” Hannah Thomas, president of VTU, said. “I hope that we are able to connect with even more students. We strive to do this every year and I hope that this year is a great year for entertainment for our student body and community.”

A joint effort between the Residence Hall Foundation (RHF) and Recreational Sports, Kickoff, or Beach Bash, is on August 22 on Dietrick Lawn and inside McComas Hall. With free food, free shirts, performances and games, this event is a great way to start off the semester and get back into Hokie Spirit (Lines can get long, so get there early!) The event runs 6 to 9 p.m.

 Walk through Hokie tradition into Lane Stadium for the Hokie Hi Welcome Picnic on August 23 from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Stand - you can sit when you graduate - for this event as you get pumped up with coaches and players from the basketball, soccer, volleyball, wrestling and, of course, football teams. Also adding to the spirit are the Virginia Tech cheerleaders, HighTechs and Marching Virginians. Don’t miss out on food and spirit and be sure to bring your on-campus room key for admission.

The first concert of the years is provided by Class Programs, which is supervised by the Alumni Association and handles everything related to do with the class ring and tradition. Following tradition, this year’s third year Class of 2017 will sponsor the Kickoff concert on Friday August 28 outside of Squires Student Center. DJ TMMPO will open, followed by The Band Concord. Delta Rae, a rock band hailing from North Carolina, will be headlining the event.

“Junior year is such a big year for us as Tech students because we have established ourselves as Hokies and also get our class rings,” said Pat Finn, president of the Class of 2017.

One of the biggest gatherings of the year, Gobblerfest draws in more than 20,000, packing the Drillfield with booths from businesses, organizations, clubs and rides, offering information and t-shirts. Don’t miss it on Friday, September 4 for performances, prizes and free stuff.

This is the time and place to get involved in something new and to be entertained, and there are performances by student dance groups, including Bamboom and DOP (Dancing’s Our Poison). Professional organizations, fraternities, volunteer societies and religious organizations are only a few types of student organizations available. From the Four Square Club to Bronies, there are opportunities for everyone. Explore the entire list at the Gobblerfest website.

Just a few days later, Grammy Award-winning country artist Brad Paisley will be playing a free concert in the Cassell Coliseum Lot. This show kicks off Paisley's "Country Nation College Tour presented by Zaxby's," during which he'll play for other schools like Baylor University and the University of Arkansas. The concert begins at 8 p.m. with headliner Eric Paslay.

Another big event for the upcoming semester is a concert from The Avett Brothers, a popular folk-indie-bluegrass rock band, whom VTU has scheduled to play Thursday, September 11 in Burruss. Tickets are available online at a discounted student rate of $30 and to the general public for $45. In the past, VTU has brought performers such as Aziz Ansari, Jason Mraz and Chance the Rapper, to name a few.

The Black Student Alliance at Virginia Tech, another major campus programming board, has previously brought performers like Kevin Hart and J. Cole, but they were unavailable to comment on their plans for this semester.

However, the Hokie spirit doesn’t stop -- if you’re not quite ready for the spirit and enthusiasm of the start of the school year to end, then you don’t have to be. Smaller and more frequent than the annual Gobblerfest, Gobblernights are hosted every couple of months throughout the year inside of Squires. The first of the year is Friday, September 25. Students can print personalized street signs, listen to a local DJ, learn how to salsa dance and have late-night cravings satisfied. All Gobblernights are free of charge and are hosted on Friday evenings with unique themes.

The anticipated Class of 2017 ring premiere will be at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, October 6 in Burruss Hall. The ring will be available for viewing for the first time and free shirts will also be available.

With these opportunities and endless spirit, new and returning Hokies will have no trouble feeling back at home in Blacksburg.