STEP Information, Rules, and Regulations for Participants

We do not have a lot of elaborate rules and procedures for the STEP Program, but there are a few things you should know before you arrive. Please read the following document carefully, and if you have questions, contact Karis Boyd-Sinkler at (540) 231-2226 or


The official check-in time is between 11:00 am and 2:00 pm on Sunday, June 23, 2019. If you must arrive earlier or later, you must call to make arrangements. During check-in, you will be assigned a room and issued a room key. If you lose your room key, you will be responsible for replacing the room keys and a dead bolt fee of $75. Please notify the program staff immediately if this occurs.

Welcome Meeting

The first official meeting for STEP participants will be at 5:30 pm on Sunday, June 23 (location not yet determined - you will be notified at check-in if not before). Pizza will be provided for dinner. You will have the opportunity to meet all faculty and staff involved in the program. If you have special dietary needs, please let us know by sending an email to

Hokie Passports

On Monday, June 24, you will obtain your Hokie Passport (Virginia Tech's student identification card). You must provide one form of identification that includes your social security number. For example, a driver's license (if your social security number appears on it) or a social security card would be appropriate.

If lost, you will be responsible for replacing your Hokie Passport at a fee of $25.


Orientation is a time for students and parents to become familiar with the environment at which students will live during the next four years. All STEP students WILL attend a portion of the Virginia Tech orientation together. Parents are encouraged to attend parent orientation in order to learn more about the university and what to expect during their son or daughter's academic career. However, STEP participants will attend specialized orientation separate from the given campus orientation dates.  Parents are not required to coordinate their orientation visit in line with STEP participants.

Residence Hall

The residence hall in which you will reside is not yet determined, but you will be notified as soon as details are in place. Two students will live in a room. A full-time student counselor (several female student counselors for women and several male student counselors for men) will live with you in this area. Each room contains furnishings, including two bunked beds, two desks, two chest of drawers, two closets, two sinks, and ceiling lights.

Rooms are also equipped with mirrors and sinks. You are required to furnish any other items you consider appropriate (for example, alarm clock, desk lamp, fan, television, gaming systems, radio, clothing hangers, etc.). Please use your own discretion. You are ultimately responsible for the security of any items that you bring.

Maid service is not available, so you are expected to keep the area in which you live reasonably neat. This means that you need to bring necessary cleaning items - broom, dustpan, and cleaning solutions for the mirror and sink. Cleaning of the room should be coordinated between roommates. Each floor has bathing facilities that are maintained by the housekeeping staff, but it is recommended that you bring shower shoes.

You will have access to coin operated laundry facilities (washer $1.75 and dryer $1.50 per load - approximate cost). You should bring your own detergent and a laundry bag/basket. Linens are not provided for you; therefore, you need to bring sheets, pillowcases, pillows, towels, and washcloths. A thin blanket will probably suffice.

Non-STEP participant visits are only allowed in the lobby (with the exception of moving in and moving out of the residence hall). Men are not allowed on the female floor at any time with the exception of parents/guardians during move-in and move-out. The only exception is the staff associated with the program. We want to provide as safe an environment for you as possible.

Campus security patrols the area 24 hours a day. However, we recommend that you do not bring valuables with you. If you must, we cannot accept responsibility for lost or stolen items. Lock your residence hall room at all times. The entire residence hall will be locked, and you will need your Hokie Passport for entrance into the building.

If you lose your room key, you will be responsible for replacing the room keys and dead bolt at a fee of $100. Please notify the program staff immediately if this occurs.


All meals will be eaten at D2. The campus also has vending machines located in just about every building, in addition to a variety of fast food restaurants on campus; for example, Subway is in the Johnston Student Center.

After your Hokie Passport is made, you will use your passport as your meal card. You will be provided three meals per day, ending with breakfast on Saturday, July 27.  Dinner on Sunday, June 23 will be included in the group meeting.


A final class schedule will be given to you at check-in time. The first class is at 8:00 am on Monday, June 24. In general, classes will be held from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm each day with 15 minute breaks and a one-hour lunchtime provided. You must arrive to every class on time.


Once you are accepted into STEP, you need to purchase your computer immediately.  It takes 2-3 weeks to receive it, so if you order right away, you will have it in time for the program.  If you have financial issues or concerns, please contact  College of Engineering computer requirement web page.

Campus Activities

You will have access to War Memorial Gymnasium. There are several indoor courts for basketball, volleyball, badminton, and racquetball. Outdoor tennis courts are also available. The gyms include a swimming pool and fully equipped weight/exercise rooms. So bring whatever you require to have fun (tennis racquet and balls, swim suit, sneakers, basketballs, baseball mitts, roller blades, frisbees, etc.). The gyms typically provide volleyballs and nets and other equipment so you don't have to worry about bringing them.

Squires Student Center has a recreation center with a bowling alley, pool and ping-pong tables, and pinball/video games. Naturally, these things cost money, but you are encouraged to visit and use them during your free time. Squires also shows movies and hosts other special events on campus during the summer. In addition to the recreation center, Squires offers abundant lounge areas, various restaurants, a credit union, theaters, and an art gallery. You may check at the Squires information desk for summer hours and events. In addition, the Residence Hall Counselors will post upcoming activities.


The key word here is comfort. It is summer time in Virginia, which typically means hot and humid at Virginia Tech. In addition, as the saying goes, "If you don't like the weather in Blacksburg, wait five minutes -- it will change." You will be walking to and from classes and meals, so take that into consideration. Most Virginia Tech students wear sport shirts and t-shirts, slacks, shorts, or summer skirts or cotton dresses for the women. Sandals and sneakers are also considered appropriate. Just remember you may be standing a lot and walking a lot more than you usually do. Don't forget to bring an umbrella or other rain gear, as the program will go on, rain or shine. A lightweight jacket for cool days and evenings may also come in handy.

We may take a field trip to a local industrial plant. Therefore, please be sure to bring a pair of covered shoes (for example, tennis shoes or loafers would be appropriate; sandals would not be appropriate for this field trip).

If you wish to attend religious services, appropriate clothes and shoes should be remembered (many denominations are within walking distance of campus). Also, don't forget your hiking shoes for those who really like exercise and a bathing suit if you like to swim.


It is okay to drive your own car to campus. If you choose to bring your car, please let us know by providing information on the appropriate portion of your acceptance form so that we may arrange for your parking permit. You are not permitted to drive while participating in the program, so you will have to leave your keys with the Program Director.  You will be required to purchase an on-campus parking permit if you choose to bring your car.

Feel free to bring a bicycle for leisure riding if you wish, however also bring the appropriate equipment (chains, locks, etc.) to secure it. The bicycle must be stored outside, not in the residence hall.

Blacksburg is a small town - you can get almost everywhere you need to by walking. In addition, the BT, a public bus system, goes just about anywhere you would want. You must show your Hokie Passport to ride the bus. Blacksburg is a relatively safe community; however, we recommend you always walk in pairs during the evening, even on campus. For the field trips and special events, we will provide necessary transportation.

Telephones, Mail, and Electronic Mail

Telephones will be available in each residence hallroom. Long distance calls will require a calling card or must be made collect. Voice mail will be available for each phone.

We request that all mail be sent to conference and guest services. We will then distribute it in class. Mail should be addressed as follows:

Student Name

Conference and Guest Services

Attn:  STEP 2018

New Hall West

Suite 134

190 West Campus Drive

Blacksburg, VA  24061

Office Phone Numbers:

Karis Boyd-Sinkler  (540) 231-4301
Main Office: (540) 231-7411

Your parent/guardian will be provided with additional contact information during check-in for the camp.

We have made arrangements to set up electronic mail access for each participant. All the steps necessary to obtain a PID (Personal Identification) will have been completed by the time you arrive, and the PID will be provided to you during the first two days. Your Virginia Tech PID is a unique Personal IDentifier. The PID you have been assigned belongs to you and only you; it, along with your PID password, grants access to your e-mail as well as Virginia Tech systems such as Blackboard, Hokie Spa, My VT, the University Libraries' databases, and more.

Medical Facilities

The Charles W. Schiffert Health Center is the campus infirmary (a more detailed description of both the health center and local hospital are provided below). You may take advantage of this facility if the need arises. If you have any special medical problems, we need to know about them in advance. This includes allergies to food and other things, and anything else you wish to bring to our attention. Allergy medicine for injections, etc. may be stored and administered at the campus infirmary. Please let us know if this is necessary, and we will make arrangements. All participants will be given home phone numbers of program faculty and staff. Do not hesitate to call the staff if you need any kind of help. Please do not forget to bring any required medications.

Charles W. Schiffert Health Center (from the Hokie Handbook)
In support of Virginia Tech's mission to educate the whole person, the Charles W. Schiffert Health Center promotes the current and future well being of our student patients through the provision of quality assured primary health care and health education. Services are designed to be cost effective and responsive to student needs to reduce the impact of illness and other health concerns that may interfere with student success at Virginia Tech. Other objectives include the following:

  • To provide convenient and accessible care to students.
  • To assist members of the university community in the management of health-related crises.
  • To educate students in the skills of self-care and wellness, and prepare them to be effective health care consumers.
  • To continually improve the quality of staff, facilities, and service delivery.
  • To continually assess the needs of students in an effort to provide relevant services.

The Schiffert Health Center (SHC) offers a wide array of wellness services to meet the health care needs of Virginia Tech students. SHC is nationally accredited by the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care, Inc.

Quality services are offered by physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, health educators, and certified college health nurses. The staff also includes pharmacists, medical technologists, and radiologic technologists.

The following clinical services are available to currently enrolled Virginia Tech students:

  • Primary ambulatory health care
  • Medication for acute illnesses
  • Radiologic and laboratory procedures
  • Allergy injections and tuberculin tests
  • Anonymous HIV testing
  • Travel Clinic
  • Women's Clinic
  • Nutrition Clinic (dietitian)
  • Self Care Cold Clinic
  • Wellness Resource Room
  • Personal Health Workshops
  • Health Counseling

The student health fee covers most services and prescription medications, but some services (i.e., allergy injections, x-rays) carry a small charge. An itemized bill will be provided for those students who wish to submit claims to their individual health insurance plans.

The health fee does not cover health care expenses outside the Schiffert Health Center. For example, visits to emergency rooms, hospitalization, specialist care such as orthopedic or dermatological care or surgery are not covered by the health fee.

We strongly recommend that students have health insurance policy from a reputable insurance company to cover these expenses or continue coverage under a parent or guardian plan. Although most students are not required to purchase it, the Virginia Tech Office of Risk Management administers a health insurance policy for students. For information, call (540) 231-6225 or (540) 231-7439. However, health insurance is mandatory for international and veterinarian students. Review of current health insurance policy/HMO parameters is recommended to determine out-of-network coverage. For example, this review will indicate whether primary care physician approval is required to see a specialist in the community.

Schiffert Health Center does not release medical records to anyone without the patient's written permission except in emergency situations. Medical records and academic records are not connected in any way.

Charles W. Schiffert Health Center
McComas Hall 0140
Washington Street and West Campus Drive
Appointments: 231-6444

The Virginia Tech Rescue Squad and the Blacksburg Volunteer Rescue Squad provide emergency services to the campus and local community. After-hours care is provided by the Advice Nurse Program that is accessed by dialing (540) 231-6444 after 5 PM and on weekends. For regular appointments call (540) 231-6444.

Schiffert Health Center Summer Hours: 8:00 am to Noon & 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm

LewisGale Hospital Montgomery is located on Route 460 on the southern edge of Blacksburg. It is a fully-accredited, 146-bed general acute care facility providing medical, surgical, obstetrical, pediatric, emergency and outpatient services. Montgomery Regional Hospital's commitment to quality health care is enhanced not only by modern technology, but also by its skilled medical staff. More than 100 physicians on the active, courtesy, and consulting staffs represent specialties ranging from cardiology to immunology, obstetrics, ophthalmology, plastic and reconstructive surgery, pulmonology, and urology.

Immunization records will need to be turned in directly to Schiffert Health.  STEP will not accept immunization records.

Check Cashing

Please note that participants may cash checks at the Freedom First Credit Union, which is located in Squires Student Center. Two party checks for less than $100 may be cashed for a fee of $3. A picture ID is required. ATM machines are located in Squires and the University Bookstore.

Don't Forget to Bring

  • Picture identification with a social security number (necessary for obtaining your Hokie Passport)
  • Copy of medical and/or insurance card
  • Calculator
  • Pens and pencils
  • Ruler/straight edge
  • Bed linens (pillowcases, pillows, towels, washcloths, and a thin blanket)
  • Shower shoes
  • Alarm clock
  • Musical instruments
  • Clothing hangers
  • Soap and other personal toilet articles
  • Women's personal necessities
  • Nice clothes for a fine dining event (men: khaki pants, dress shirt, tie; women: dress, skirt, dress pants, blouse)
  • Broom and dustpan
  • Cleaning solutions for the mirror and sink
  • Detergent
  • Laundry bag/basket
  • Desk lamp
  • Radio
  • Fan
  • Television
  • Umbrella (rain gear)
  • Lightweight jacket
  • Comfortable shoes

What Not to Bring*:

  • Illegal drugs
  • Alcohol
  • Fireworks
  • Firearms
  • Pets
  • Expensive jewelry
  • Hot plates
  • Explosives
  • Candles
  • Incense

* More detailed information may be found at: VT Code of Conduct

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Student must be packed and checked out of the residence hall between 11:00 am - 1:30 pm, Saturday, July 27, 2019. An awards ceremony will held immediately before check-out (room location to be announced). Further information about the ceremony will be communicated to parents through the students.

Rules and Guidelines that must be followed for the duration of the program:

  1. All students are expected to be on campus for the duration of the programThe only exception for this rule is an emergency. We will have academic and recreation activities planned on weekends too so we need you here. If you cannot meet this requirement, we must request that you not participate in the program.
  2. Prompt attendance to all classes, labs, seminars, advising sessions, orientations, field trips, etc. is mandatory.
  3. The program staff reserves the right to dismiss from the program any student who behaves inappropriately which may be defined as missing a required activity (e.g., class), disobeying staff or counselors, and anything else that the program staff considers to be inappropriate behavior.


The entire STEP staff looks forward to having fun during your five weeks at Virginia Tech. We want you to have fun, too. As thorough as we try to be, it is possible that you still have questions. Please call or email us if necessary.

Center for the Enhancement of Engineering Diversity

215 Hancock Hall (0275), 490 Old Turner St., Blacksburg, Virginia, 24061
Phone: (540) 231-7411
Email CEED