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STEP Information, Rules, and Regulations for Participants

Below is important information about the STEP program as well as general information about arriving on the Virginia Tech campus.  Please read the information carefully.  If you have questions, please reach out to Christina Martin (, STEP Program Director, or


The official check-in time is between 11:00 am and 2:00 pm on Sunday, June 25, 2023. If you must arrive earlier or later, you must email Christina Martin ( to make arrangements. During check-in, you will be assigned a room and issued a room key.

Welcome Meeting

The first official meeting for the STEP participants will be at 5:30 pm on Sunday, June 25 (location not yet determined - you will be notified at check-in if not before). Parents are not required to attend this meeting. 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

For 2023-2024, Hokie Passports (Virginia Tech's student identification cards) are being mailed to students prior to the academic year. STEP participants are asked to bring their Hokie Passports to campus with them to access their residence hall room and the dining hall. If a student forgets their Hokie Passport, they will be required to visit Hokie Passport Services on Monday, June 26, to obtain a new Hokie Passport. Students must provide one form of identification that includes their 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.

Engineering Orientation

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 be asked to sign up for the same online orientation session to prevent scheduling conflicts with program activities. Families are encouraged to attend Family Orientation hosted by Student Affairs to learn more about the university and what to expect during their student’s academic career. Parents are not required to coordinate their orientation visit in line with STEP participants.

Residence Hall

STEP 2023 Participants will receive notification of their residence hall once they have accepted their offer to participate in the program. For STEP 2023, participants will reside in double-occupancy rooms. Full-time student Residence Hall Assistants (two female Resident Hall Assistants for women and two male Resident Hall Assistants for men) will live with you in this area. Each room contains furnishings, including two bunked beds, two desks, two set 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.

Housekeeping staff will be cleaning restrooms and high touchpoint areas such as elevator buttons, water bottle filling stations, and door handles multiple times a day. Hand sanitizing stations have been placed near all residence hall entrances and elevators. Should a guest become ill, a full sanitization protocol will be enacted in the affected area.

You will have access to 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 except for parents/guardians during move-in and move-out, and same vis versa. 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. Always lock your residence hall room. The entire residence hall will be locked, and you will need your Hokie Passport for entrance into the building.

If you lose your ID which is your method of accessing your room, you will be responsible for replacing your ID. Please notify the program staff immediately if this occurs.


All meals will be eaten at D2. The campus also has vending machines located in most buildings, in addition to a variety of fast-food restaurants near campus.

After your Hokie Passport is activated, you will use your passport as your meal card. You will be provided three meals per day, beginning with breakfast Monday, June 26 and ending with breakfast on Saturday, July 29.  Dinner on Sunday, June 25 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 26. In general, classes and seminars 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 step@vt.eduCollege of Engineering computer requirement web page.

Campus Activities

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 Assistants will post upcoming activities.

McComas Gym is available for STEP participants for a Conference and Guest Attendees membership fee of $55/per person for the entire duration of STEP. Day or Weekly passes are available as well. Valid membership to VT Rec Sports facilities includes access to both indoor gym facilities on campus, McComas Hall gym and the Rec Sports Field House, as well as unlimited use of various outdoor recreational facilities that VT Rec Sports oversees. *All Conference and Guest Services attendees who are interested in purchasing a membership must be 18+ years of age to access our facilities. If you would like to purchase a membership each VT Conference and Guest Services attendee should visit the VT Rec Sports administrative office in 142 McComas Hall during normal business hours with their issued ID/access card to purchase access.


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).

We will have professional development events so please bring business professional clothing for these events. These may include khaki/dress pants, dress shirt, tie, dress, skirt, blouse.

If you wish to attend religious services, please bring appropriate clothes and shoes  (many denominations are within walking distance of campus). Also, don't forget your hiking shoes for those who really like exercise and a swim 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 pre-arrival 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

We request that all mail be sent to conference and guest services. They will contact students when mail is available for pick up. Mail should be addressed as follows:

Student Name
Conference and Guest Services
Attn:  STEP 2023
New Hall West, Suite 134
190 West Campus Drive
Blacksburg, VA  24061

Office Phone Numbers:
Christina Martin: (540) 231-1579
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 Canvas, 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.

Don't Forget to Bring

  • Hokie Passport
  • Picture identification with a social security number (necessary for obtaining your Hokie Passport if you lose or misplace it)
  • Copy of medical and/or insurance card
  • Calculator
  • Pens and pencils
  • Ruler/straight edge
  • Extra-long Twin Bed Sheets (fitted and flat sheets)
  • Linens (pillowcases, pillows, towels, washcloths, and a blanket)
  • Shower shoes
  • Alarm clock
  • Musical instruments
  • Clothing hangers
  • Soap and other personal toiletry items
  • Personal necessities
  • Nice clothes for a fine dining event (khaki pants, dress shirt, tie, dress, skirt, dress pants, blouse)
  • Broom and dustpan
  • Cleaning solutions for the mirror and sink
  • Detergent
  • Laundry bag/basket
  • Desk lamp
  • Radio
  • Fan(s) (the residence hall rooms will not have A/C)
  • 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 29, 2023. An awards ceremony will be held immediately before check-out (room location to be announced). Further information about the ceremony will be communicated to parents through the students.  Parents and family are encouraged to attend.

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

220 Gilbert Street (MC 0275)
Blacksburg, Virginia, 24061
Phone: (540) 231-7411
Email CEED