Pulaski looking to revitalize its historic downtown

 

by Emily Ball, Dana Seigelstein–

The town of Pulaski is looking to bring their town a new look along with improving their population in the area.

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Pulaski, Va., May 8 – Main Street: Main Street in Pulaski is where most of the renovations are coming. On this strip, there will be a cafe that will feature New Orlean style food and plans to be open in the next six to eight months. Photo: Dana Seigelstein

 

The town of Pulaski’s downtown has been suffering from a lack of businesses and people visiting the area. Employees of the town have been striving to gather funds and host events to try and make their community a more happening place.

Nichole Hair, Deputy Town Manager and Zoning Administrator of the town of Pulaski, said when she was hired in 2016, they got two grants for doing some downtown planning efforts right off.

“Those two grants allowed us to hold community input meetings,” said Hair. “We did about 300 hours with 40 citizens, coming up with a vision for the downtown, coming up with a mission for the downtown and looking at the plans for the future.”

After getting a master plan, the committee then was able to apply for a large grant from the state, specifically from the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development. The DHCD also provided the funding for the first two grants they received in 2016.

Pulaski is currently revitalizing West Main Street where 15 buildings are involved, street improvements, way-finding signage, and just a general facelift to that area. In addition to the front section of Main Street, there will be renovations to the backside of the structures, along Pete Creek.  These additions will be railings and signage for information and educational purposes.

Earlier this month, the town held a free conference for the community. According to the Roanoke Times, this event allowed community members to come and learn more about the changes that are coming to the area. They were able to see how to open a business or help out, have walking tours of the areas under construction and have one on one time to ask questions.

After the two day conference, Pulaski was announced to be one of the 15 communities participating in Local Foods, Local Places. This organization helps cities and towns protect their environment and human health. According to the LFLP website, two of their 2019 partners reside in Virginia and are no longer accepting new applications until late summer.

As the town is taking actions to change, Mayor Dave Clark says that he sees the future of Pulaski being a place that people want to be and call their home. He says that the process of incoming businesses is interesting since they are not apart of a large change. While there is no compiled list of incoming business entering Pulaski, there is a large number of people who have expressed their interest.

“I ask for people to come and visit us,” said Mayor Clark. “We are a jewel in the New River Valley. Anywhere in the New River Valley is a great place to live, but Pulaski is home.” As Pulaski continues to evolve, Mayor Clark says that he is very proud of his town, past, present and excited to see what the future will bring.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Future for Futurehaus

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Blacksburg, Va., April 24 – What the Future Holds: This is the Futurehaus, which is currently located on the Drillfield until the end of April, where it then will be moved either to Moss Art Center or near New Classroom Building. Photo: Sydney Ditmar

by Sydney Ditmar–

As an innovative campus, Virginia Tech has sponsored many new projects over the years, including the creation of the Futurehaus. This house was created in order to help discover a new and more efficient way to build homes that are both convenient and technologically advanced.

According to Futurehaus Virginia Tech Center for Design Research, the efficiency comes from the “cartridge” concept of the house which makes it easier to change out different components of the house, like cabinets, in order to fit the owner’s needs.

So what are the next steps for Futurehaus now that it has been created?

“After we take it to New York, we are going to take it down to the innovation campus in Alexandria to show it off for a few months and then after that it’s going back to Dubai for the Worlds Fair Expo in 2020,” said Will McRae, a Futurehaus team member and an architecture student at Virginia Tech.

After their win in Dubai back in 2018, which according to Builder Online included first place in two categories as well as top three in three other categories, more doors have opened up for the team in order to create concepts similar to Futurehaus, but for different purposes.

“We’ve been looking into disaster relief prototypes with FEMA, looking into developing a 300 unit housing unit in Virginia Beach with Pharrell Williams, which is pretty cool,” said Bobby Vance, the Visiting Instructor and Team Leader for the Futurehaus project.

Vance also described how the cartridge concept has really helped develop even more ideas beyond Futurehaus, including a SMART apartment complex that will be located on Virginia Tech’s Campus.

“We are now doing a new faculty apartment for a SMART dorm that is going up behind the Graduate Life Center,” said Vance.

This faculty dorm will include the cartridge concept as well, but these cartridges will be produced off campus and then brought on to campus and placed in each dorm unit depending on the faculty members needs.

Vance described these cartridge concepts as not only making renovations easier but accessibility easier as well. It allows homeowners to have more control over the space that they live in instead of having to constantly adjust to the permanent space they are stuck with.

“It is you taking ownership of that space,” said Vance.

The Futurehaus team is excited for what their future holds as more and more projects upon up for them to be a part of. They are changing the world, one house at a time.

 

Keto Diet: Good for you?

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Blacksburg, Va., April 16–Promoting healthy living: Dietician, Kristen Chang, has been an athlete her entire life and is especially passionate about helping fellow athletes improve their performances through nutrition. (Photo: Hannah Bumgarner)

by Hannah Bumgarner — 

The fast-paced culture in America has caused people to search for immediacy in their journey to their desired body weight through thousands of different fad diets. The keto diet has gained momentum in recent years, especially on social media platforms. According to Shape Magazine, over half a million people have tagged #ketotransformation on Instagram photos.

While many are eager to share their testimonials to all who will listen, what are the experts saying about this diet?

The keto state is one where the body uses fat for energy as opposed to carbs, therefore the ketogenic diet requires a low-carb intake and high intake of fats and proteins. It is suggested that 70 percent of one’s daily calories come from fats, 25 percent from proteins, and only 5 percent from carbohydrates, according to a beginner keto guide. 

“Carbs are not the enemy,” is a phrase that dietician and current professor in the Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise department at Virginia Tech, Kristen Chang, has spent her career preaching to her clients and students.

According to Chang, she takes a nonrestrictive approach to dieting, therefore she believes diets like keto promote unhealthy relationships with food and have negative effects both mentally and physically.

“Glucose is the primary fuel for your brain and a lot of individuals I’ve worked with in the past that aren’t getting enough carbohydrates are really feeling the effects from a cognitive standpoint whether they choose to acknowledge it or not,” said Chang.

Chang spent three years running her own practice before returning to her alma mater of Virginia Tech as a professor. During her time as a personal dietician, she was asked by a client to guide them through the keto diet and she declined that client because it doesn’t align with her “dietary philosophy.”

As research published in the National Center for Biotechnology Information Journal states, the ketogenic diet was originally developed as a nutritional treatment to epilepsy in the 1920s. This study proved that this low-carb diet could be extremely beneficial for those suffering from seizures if they are closely monitored by medical professionals and dietitians.

Maddi Batts, a senior at Virginia Tech, only exercised the keto program for a month but saw significant results of losing ten pounds during that time. The results she was looking for, quick weight loss, was acquired, but she also said that she put some of the weight back on after resuming a less restricted diet.

“I think the results are a lot quicker and noticeable, but it’s not as much of a manageable lifestyle, in my opinion,” said Batts.

Promotions of various diets continue to flood the media ensuring a quick fix to any body dissatisfaction, but many nutrition experts such as Chang are standing firm in their belief that small healthy changes and learning to see food as fuel for the body are more sustainable practices.

 

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Non-traditional college experience

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Blacksburg, Va., April 12Seeing the Light: Nicole Sutphin, senior communication studies major. After years of schooling, graduation is around the corner. Photo: Courtney Flickinger

by Courtney Flickinger–

School is a major part of everyone’s lives from the age of five. As school progresses throughout the twelve grades, there is one thing that is always an end goal for parents and teachers. Everyone wants to see students succeed and go to college. While there are a number of students who do follow this traditional path, there are many others who decide to go back to college later.

According to an article titled “Adult College Students: The Uncovered 6.6 Million,” adults make up 35% of the overall college population across the country.

Nicole Sutphin, a senior at Virginia Tech, is doing things a little differently. After attending college right out of high school, Sutphin dropped out after a year and a half because of poor academic achievement and a lack of love for her university. While living in Louisiana at the time, Sutphin says she felt pressured by her family to go to college, but at the time her heart was not in it.

Eventually, Sutphin went back and received an associates degree only four days before giving birth to her now 11-year-old son. While trying to continue her education toward a bachelors degree, Sutphin said she dropped out multiple times because she was working full-time along with being a full-time student. According to a report by the Public Agenda, “The number one reason students give up leaving school is the fact that they had to work and go to school at the same time and, despite their best efforts, the stress of trying to do both eventually took its toll.”

Despite all of this, Sutphin went back to school and began working at Virginia Tech along with her studies. She said, “going back was a daunting experience, it was frightening.” Working as a graduate programs coordinator, she works with faculty and students daily. Sutphin added, “being in the classroom with the students really helped me understand them more for my job, I felt just like one of them.” In May, Sutphin will join the class of 2019 and graduate with her bachelor’s degree.

Although it did take Sutphin an extended period of time to graduate, she is not the only one in this position. According to the New York Times, only 57 percent of students who enroll in college will graduate within the first six years.

David Sutphin, Nicole’s husband, said he worries about his wife’s mental health as she is responsible for so many things every day. Between her family, a full-time job, and full-time college demand, she rarely has time to relax. Sutphin said, “she rarely sleeps more than five hours a night and has battled several health issues over the years.” He said he is looking forward to more family time again soon. Sutphin’s son, on the other hand, is very proud of his mother. 11-year-old Clayton says he can’t wait to follow his mother’s footsteps and go to Virginia Tech in the future.

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The graphic above is a link to the full version.

Self-expression or Self-sabotage?

by Casey Molina–

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Blacksburg, Va., April 8 – Piercing Queen: Jena Sturm, a senior at Virginia Tech displays four of her 17 ear piercings and a tattoo of a dove behind her ear.  Photo: Casey Molina

The common stereotype of students going off to college and getting multiple piercings and tattoos is one that, albeit truthful, lacks the whimsicality often portrayed by society. A survey conducted of 52 Virginia Tech students revealed that a combined 80% of students have, at some point in time, refrained from getting visible tattoos and/or piercings and dyeing their hair an unnatural color for fear of how they would be received by a potential employer.  

These statistics demonstrate that not only are students thinking hard about expressing themselves in certain ways, but they’re actively fearful of forgoing jobs because of it.  However, according to an article published on the Good News Network website, 40% of young adults have tattoos and, the article states that these growing numbers have been helping to improve negative stigmas of hiring people who choose to express themselves in this way.  

Jena Sturm, a senior at Virginia Tech, agrees that the negative stigma surrounding tattoos and piercings is on a decline, stating that, “I think the norm is changing to where it’s more acceptable in a lot of ways…it’s just changing over time and I think a lot of people are recognizing that.”

Research has proved the aforementioned statements. However, Sturm also mentions that she believes the type of job industry has a lot to do with levels of tattoo and piercing acceptance saying, “If you look at it, some doctors have full sleeves.  So I think it just really depends on where you’re working and what their values are.”

A paper published in the “Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion Journal” outlined research that further supports this viewpoint, referencing a study that demonstrates within management and human resources job markets 80% of personnel “would be less likely to hire someone with visible tattoos and/or piercings.”

So what’s the truth?  Researchers and website publications alike are still trying to figure it out.  The Huffington Post released an article as a follow-up to a story published by Forbes, stating that tattoos are, ‘no longer a kiss of death in the workplace’.  Huffington Post 

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This image is a link to a full version of the graphic.

essentially found these statements untruthful when it conducted modern research taking another look at the issue.  It found that “highly visible tattoos can still have a negative impact, especially in customer-facing jobs.”  Of the students used in the Virginia Tech survey, the majority felt as though their self-expression in the workplace is limited as far as getting tattoos, piercings, and dying one’s hair. Additional remarks about how they feel as though they may be judged for how they express themselves and have even been asked to remove piercings by employers were made in the comments section of the survey.

Allison Turner, a recent Virginia Tech graduate, recently started her current job in a corporate office at Advance Auto.  She has 8 tattoos, almost all of which are visible, stretched ears, and a nose and helix piercing. She says that her appearance has never kept her from being considered for a job.  However, she does have reservations about future tattoos she would like to get. “I really want finger tattoos but I’m so afraid to get them because hand tattoos are considered ‘job stoppers’ in the tattoo community.”

 

Dancing the night away since 1934

Blacksburg, Va., March 30 – RING DANCE 2019: On March 30, Commonwealth Ballroom at Squires Student Center hosted the 2019 Ring Dance. Photo: Ben Anderson.

by Ben Anderson–

On March 30, Virginia Tech’s class of 2020 filed into Squires Student Center and made their way to the Commonwealth Ballroom for the 2019 Ring Dance, a tradition stretching back to 1934.

According to the Virginia Tech Alumni website, the event started in 1934 by members of the Corps of Cadets, and, aside from a number of years during World War II, the event has happened every year since.  The ceremony is supposed to be a celebration and representation of the junior class transitioning into their senior year at Virginia Tech.

Many of the traditions from that first dance carry on today, such as dates wearing each others rings around their wrist with ribbon, according to Virginia Tech’s history page on its website.

While traditions live on, some have had to change over the years, explains Laura Wedin, Associate Director of Student and Young Alumni Engagement at Virginia Tech.  One example of these changes, was the ending of freshmen cadets releasing a live pig at the dance.

Some traditions have changed, but main stays such as the sabre arch and ring figure still hold strong today.  “It’s that tradition and continuity that I think makes Virginia Tech Virginia Tech,” said Wedin on why this event is so special to the school.

Each year the celebration attempts to represent that class, both on the ring at the dance.  “Tech has been redesigning a new ring each year, including different elements,” Wedin explained.  This years ring features images of Lane Stadium, Gobblerfest, and the popular horse on a treadmill video.

Kate Avdellas, a senior at Virginia Tech, worked on the class of 2019’s ring committee.  Looking back at her own ring dance, she stated, “it’s that moment when you’re like, wow, I’ve been here for three years.  I only have one left, and it’s a really great night to reflect on your time at Virginia Tech.”  She went on to say how proud she was to be a part of a tradition that has stayed strong for so many years.

For many students, the latter half of their college careers can seem daunting and intimidating as they look only to the future and what life after college will be like.  Ring Dance is an opportunity for these students to slow down and enjoy the moment, while reminiscing on the times they have had at Virginia Tech.  For over eighty years, students have participated in this historic event and continue be for years to come.

 

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Blacksburg, Va., March 30 – THE FRONT DOORS: Ring Dance was held in Commonwealth Ballroom in Squires Student Center. Photo: Ben Anderson.
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Blacksburg, Va., March 30 – PYLON PHOTOS: Students lined up to take pictures at Virginia Tech’s Pylons. Photo: Ben Anderson.
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Blacksburg, Va., March 30 – 2020 RING: This year’s ring features Lane Stadium, Skipper Cannon, and more. Photo: Ben Anderson.
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Blacksburg, Va., March 30 – 2020 RING 2: The 2020 class ring also features Burruss Hall and the Virginia Tech Pylons. Photo: Ben Anderson.
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Blacksburg, Va., March 30 – TIME OF OUR LIVES: The class of 2020 was celebrated by multiple works of art featuring their graduation year. Photo: Ben Anderson.
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Blacksburg, Va., March 30 – CLASS OF 2020: Roses make up the student-designed class of 2020 logo. Photo: Ben Anderson.
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Blacksburg, Va., March 30 – DELIVERY TIME: Virginia Tech offered food for students at the dance. Photo: Ben Anderson.
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Blacksburg, Va., March 30 – ALMOST GO TIME: The floor is almost set for students to enter for Ring Dance 2019. Photo: Ben Anderson.

 

 

Climate change, allergies

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Roanoke, Va., March 21 – Flowering Tree: The spring allergy season is caused primarily by pollen released from blooming trees. This tree is one of the first types to be in full bloom this season, indicating the start of spring allergies. Photo: Lizzy Street

by Lizzy Street–-

March’s flowering trees may be pretty, but they mark the beginning of the spring allergy season by releasing types of pollen that are especially irritating to those who are allergic. According to an article in the Washington Post, Virginia’s allergy season has worsened in recent years and will continue to do so: it will start earlier, last longer and be more intense.

A climate change study conducted in 2018 by the Natural Resources Defense Council attributes this early start to rising temperatures in the state, which are boosting plant growth and pollen production.

However, Dr. Laura Dziadzio, an allergist-immunologist at Carilion Clinic, says that she has not noticed changes in Virginia’s spring allergy season during her time as an allergist.

“Typically, things are worse in April, and that’s pretty consistent,” said Dziadzio. “This year, I think it’s probably going to be . . . typical.”

Allergy differences across Virginia may be caused by a wide variety of allergens, but geography also plays a role. According to Dziadzio, communities located in valleys can have particularly bad allergy seasons.

“With the Roanoke Valley, I’m told we’re the worst because the valley does trap some of the allergens,” said Dziadzio. “[Being in a valley] may make it a little bit worse — the gravity.”

Residents of the New River Valley have noticed similar trends.

“I definitely do notice a difference when I’m [in Northern Virginia] and when I’m here,” said Kristal Melendez, a Virginia Tech student with seasonal allergies. “I feel like the air here is . . . stuffier. It’s worse when I’m here.”

For those with seasonal allergies, reactions to pollen can include a runny nose, red and itchy eyes, congestion and sneezing. People with asthma may experience flares in symptoms. As the allergy season progresses and possibly changes, Dziadzio suggests using either prescription or over-the-counter medications, including nasal sprays, eye drops and antihistamines. She also says that if medicines alone do not help, allergy shots may be beneficial.

As someone who has dealt with seasonal allergies for years, Melendez suggests seeking further treatment than going to a family physician.

“I would stress the importance of trying to get to an allergist and finding exactly what it is [you’re] allergic to,” said Melendez. “I think the knowledge of actually going might help being able to better target what it is.”

Additionally, an article from Mayo Clinic recommends some non-medicinal measures to take, such as showering after being outside, drying sheets and towels indoors, wearing pollen masks while outdoors and checking local media for pollen forecasts.

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Image linked to full version of infographic on Piktochart.com

On-campus, off-campus employment

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Blacksburg, Va., March 2 – Ana Maria Perez working at a local Blacksburg store, ExperT’s: During one of her weekly shifts, Perez regularly restocks the store’s items such as clothes, hats, decals, and jewelry.

 

by Emily Love–

Many college students have part-time jobs while also managing a full-time academic load. According to an article on ladders.com,  52 percent of college students work at least 27 weeks per year. The ideal number of working hours for a student is 10-15 per week, but many exceed that. More and more students are having to pay their own tuition, their rent, or their grocery bills so they are required to work in order to make the appropriate ends meet.

Madison Leonard, a senior working on campus at the Dietrick Convenience Store, says that her job is very laid back and that management is lenient if an employee has something come up that conflicts with a shift regarding school because someone else is always working. Leonard has been working at the convenience store for three years now and has worked her way up to Stadium Supervisor.

Leonard works an average of thirty hours a week. In regards to her job affecting her school work she states, “I try to balance it as best as I can, I don’t work more than I can and our schedules are really flexible so we don’t have to work more than we want to.” She also states, “They don’t really care much about what we do. We get a 30-minute break if we work six hours, but they don’t care if we eat on the job or do homework if we’re not busy.” This is one of the major benefits of working on campus.

Some other pros of working an on-campus job are the convenience and the pay.

“It’s really convenient cause the bus is always running, and you have food right there, and if you’re coming from class it’s not like you have to factor in the time you have to go home so you can come right from class,” Leonard states.

As far as the pay rate goes, student employees typically make more working on campus vs. off campus. Stadium supervisor alone makes $11.28, assistant makes $9.85, and clerks make $8.60. Students get paid relatively well for what they do.

The minimum wage in Virginia is $7.25 and there is no evidence that it will be raising anytime soon. Although students working off campus get paid less than those working on campus, they typically make more than minimum wage.

Ana Maria Perez, a senior working at a local Blacksburg store called ExperT’s, makes $8.50 an hour. Though this is one of the downfalls to working off campus, along with not having that sense of camaraderie among fellow employees because of the frequent hiring of new people each semester, there are many benefits as well.

“I think that some benefits would be that you don’t have to run into everybody you know on campus and be like seen by everyone,” states Perez. She also states, “It’s definitely a benefit that I can drive there because I don’t have a parking pass — and having it be a set schedule.”

Ana Maria comes straight from class so she has a fifteen minute leniency period to arrive to work in.

She claims that off-campus jobs aren’t as flexible as an on-campus job would be. “They don’t allow you to do school work at all at the front desk, even if no one’s there and they don’t want you even studying if nothing’s going on,” Perez states.

She typically works twelve hours a week with no lunch breaks. The schedule is set far in advance and you must find someone to cover your shift and get it approved by management even in the event of an emergency.

Working an off-campus job can be tough but earning some extra spending money makes it worthwhile in the end. Although Perez says that she doesn’t get much done on Tuesday’s and Thursday’s, when she has her scheduled shifts, she is glad she found a job that works well with her schedule.

 

 

 

 

 

Campus moves toward further accessibility

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Blacksburg, Va., Feb. 18 — RAMP THIS WAY: The ADA requires that every building with handicap accessible ramps has clear signage. This one points to an entrance into McBryde 100.  Photo: Loren Skinker.

by Loren Skinker—

While traveling across Virginia Tech’s campus, one is likely to encounter two constants: hills and stairs.

These features produce challenges for students with physical disabilities, as they are forced to take roundabout routes to avoid such obstacles and find flatter ground. This task can prove to be far more time-consuming and rigorous than one might initially expect.

“During my sophomore year, I had to leave Pamplin [Hall] a good twenty minutes or so early just to make it NCB [New Classroom Building] on time,” said Trent Neely, a Virginia Tech student who uses an electric wheelchair to navigate campus. “That area is really difficult to work around because there are so many steps.”

Having had to traverse campus for nearly four years in a wheelchair, Neely knows a thing or two when it comes to locating access points into buildings and finding handicap-friendly ramps. Nevertheless, he admits that he still occasionally encounters a new staircase, but that hasn’t dampened his attitude about the university’s assistance with disabled students.

“SSD [Service for Students with Disabilities] is always extremely understanding and kind in their responses to my needs,” said Neely. “One time, the university even relocated an entire class so that I could make it there on time.”

According to the U.S. Department of Education, more and more students with disabilities are pursuing higher education. This surge has prompted colleges and universities to allocate more resources to this growing field.

“Virginia Tech is a Title II institution, meaning that its educational programs and classrooms are accessible for students with disabilities,” said Pam Vickers, director of ADA and accessibility services at Virginia Tech. “Although some specific locations are inaccessible, like the second floor of Lane Hall, when looked at as a whole, the university is ADA certified.”

Passed in 1990, The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) ensured those individuals with disabilities with the same rights and opportunities as anyone else. Title II is a qualification signifying that a government entity has met certain accessibility standards in areas such as transportation, architecture, and more.

All building renovation projects at Virginia Tech must involve ADA participation, for the office must determine if such construction meets handicap regulations. According to Vickers, improvements are in place to better accommodate physically disabled students in less accessible areas like Hokie Grille and Burchard Plaza.

“I think we [Virginia Tech] are in a good place,” said Vickers. “Yes, there are still challenges with topography, but that hasn’t stopped the university from advancing and delivering options to those who are physically disabled.”

Regarding other infrastructure changes, Vickers hopes the university will adopt an automated shuttle system that is handicap accessible.

 

Dating app ambassadors

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Blacksburg, Va., Feb. 19 — Greetings: Tinder U has a variety of college-friendly slogans. Photo: Gretchen Kernbach

By Gretchen Kernbach–

More often than not, a Facebook event pops up on your timeline accompanied by the words “bar” and “tab.” When combined – a bar tab. All that’s required of attendees is downloading Tinder U or Bumble and swiping right.

Who is behind these events that involve free drinks and friends? Brand ambassadors – a popular college gig that’s spreading throughout the nation.

According to the NY Times, “Paying college students to push products is nothing new for companies.”

Here at Virginia Tech, both Bumble and Tinder thrive off of free giveaways and fun events in order to promote their brand. However, whether or not these marketing programs are beneficial to real-world careers is in question.

According to Tinder U’s website, an ambassador’s role is to “engage with students on campus and encourage people to download the app. Further, collect feedback on the brand and product and bring it back to the team.”

A common misconception given to college brand ambassadors is the notion that they relatively do no work. Furthermore, it’s noted that “for busy students, it is an easy, low-pressure way to make extra money or get free products.”

Is there really any quality effort that goes into this type of internship?

“There actually is a lot of work that goes into each of our events especially for our large mid-semester or end-of-the-year events,” said Kathy Bui, a Tinder U ambassador. “We have to contact different venues and we have to set a budget.”

Bui said that she engages in weekly “Skype meetings with Tinder headquarters” in order to discuss future events. She is also responsible for items like t-shirts, hats, and fanny packs to give out at Tinder events.

Director of marketing for the Pamplin College of Business, Donna Wertalik, emphasized that job recruiters look for “unique skill sets that separate out the normal marketing student.”

She emphasized that these dating app ambassador programs focus more on event management and communication. And if an ambassador wanted to get more out of their internship, they would need to assert themselves.

“[Students] can push for ‘can I see the analytics behind the assignment?'” said Wertalik.

Research on both dating apps is essential in learning what the benefits are for either ambassador program. Like any internship, the major question lies: how will this better prepare me for post-grad life?

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Blacksburg, Va. Feb. 19 — Power to it: Donna Wertalik poses with one of her many National Telly awards. Photo: Gretchen Kernbach

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Blacksburg, Va. Feb. 19 — All smiles: Kathy Bui proudly wears her Tinder U swag as a brand ambassador. Photo: Gretchen Kernbach