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This Year. Best Year.

Students outside in a small group on campus
Photo credit: Mary Desmond.

Dear Virginia Tech and Blacksburg Community,

Count us among the many in Blacksburg who’d say, “It seems like yesterday we were college students!” Time is both special and fleeting—and understanding this reality is one of the gifts that growing older offers. 

Of course, the last stretch of time has been hard—really hard. We’ve experienced exhaustion, bouts of loneliness, and an overall erosion in our mental health and well-being.  Much of this has been magnified for students.

If there’s a silver lining, it’s that the difficulties of COVID-19 have provided a compelling reminder to cherish friendships, to consider the brilliance of every moment, and to relish the everyday opportunities that come with living and learning in Blacksburg and at Virginia Tech. So, let’s make this year, the best year!

One of the most beautiful realities of living in this community is that we stick together. We’ve shown this time and time again as we’ve traversed some difficult spaces. But we’ve prevailed together. It’s why we’re again asking you to join us in doubling down on the sorts of choices that help us thrive and flourish, both as individuals and as a community. 

To make this year the best year, it’s a good idea to set goals to strengthen our mental health, launch a plan for bolstering our well-being, commit to caring for our larger community, and exercising choices that exude hope.  Researchers tell us we can literally build up a reservoir of “hope” by setting goals, creating plans to make progress toward them, and believing our goals can be achieved.

We love this community and we believe we are better because each of you are here. Thank you for the myriad ways in which you bring life and light to Blacksburg. Know that we brag often about how proud we are to share this patch of the journey together with you.

With Hope,

Frank Shushok, Jr.
Vice President for Student Affairs
Virginia Tech

Leslie Hager Smith
Town of Blacksburg