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January 2020 Family Newsletter

Vaping: Important Things for Hokie Families to Know

For many years the amount of nicotine and tobacco use at Virginia Tech was relatively low. With the introduction of JUUL and other high-nicotine vaping devices, a larger portion of our student population is now regular nicotine and tobacco users. Many of them meet the clinical definition of having nicotine addictions. A significant portion stared in high school or upon entering the university.

At Hokie Wellness we are leading the charge against vaping use (and cigarette, dip, and hookah use). We encourage our Hokie Family partners to join us. The first thing you can do is understand some things about vaping, so you can pass them along to your Hokie (and future Hokies).

News and facts about tobacco use at Virginia Tech

  1. Tobacco use includes vaping.
  2. This summer Virginia raised the legal age to buy and use tobacco products to 21.
  3. The CDC recommends against vaping any product that contains THC due to EVALI concerns. It is also illegal in the state of Virginia.
  4. The causes of the recent deaths and hospitalizations from vaping have yet to be determined.
  5. Most experts agree that flavors (along with easy access to vaping products) are big factors in adolescents starting vaping and developing nicotine addictions. Various attempts to restrict flavors in vapes have been proposed nationwide. 
  6. Virginia Tech Policy 1010 prohibits smoking and vaping inside buildings, and within 25’ of all building entrances and air intakes.


It may take years for science to have enough evidence to know exactly what the short and long term effect of vaping are. We already have enough studies suggesting that vaping is not harmless. Hokie Wellness recommend that all individuals discontinue vaping.

How to help your student quit vaping

If your Hokie is currently vaping, smoking, or dipping we encourage you to talk with him/her about quitting. If they are not yet addicted to nicotine, they will have an easier time quitting. In this case reinforcing and asking about it on multiple occasions can often lead to quitting.

If your Hokie can’t seem to quit vaping (or smoking/dipping), please encourage him/her to see a Certified Tobacco Treatment Specialist in Hokie Wellness. Appointments for Virginia Tech students are free. Professionals will work with your Hokie to develop a quitting plan and support him/her throughout the process. Students can schedule an appointment by calling 540-231-1874.

Happy New Year! We're excited to welcome Hokies back to campus with and kick off the spring semester. We are here to help our community find their favorite ways to move, and we have lots of opportunities that kick off this month.

Fitness Programs

Group Exercise - Our spring group exercise schedule features over 110 classes each week and classes are catered to all skill and ability levels. All classes will be free the first week of class, and students can learn more about purchasing a group ex membership here.

Personal Training - Our certified personal trainers are ready to help students and staff reach their fitness and wellbeing goals. Our trainers create safe and customized fitness programs and provide clients with the 1-on-1 attention they deserve.

Hokie Fit: Online-Based Training Plans - We've completely revamped our online fitness program that is open to students, staff and the general public! 2-Week Kickstart, 4-Week and 6-Week workout plans are now offered and come with a full set of tutorial videos and a PDF workout guide.

Intramural Sports

Our spring intramural schedule is ready for students to register for sports and compete against other Hokies on campus for a chance to win the coveted championship t-shirt. Membership and registration info can be found here

Venture Out

Trips - 31 outdoor trips are scheduled for the spring semester! From hiking to caving, and rappelling to skiing, Venture Out offeres trips guided by trained perfessionals to provide elite experiences in our scenic surroundings. 

Rentals - For those who wish to partake in their own adventures, we offer equipment rentals to help send you on your journey!

Aquatics, Health and Safety

Our aquatics program offeres swim lessons as well as health and safety certification courses.

Sport Clubs

Our 30 sport clubs will reconvene for the semester and prepare to play recreationally or compete nationally! 


To learn more about our offerings, visit our website or connect with us on FacebookTwitter, or Instagram!


College means sharing space: living quarters, classrooms, and dining facilities. So, it’s common for illness and infection to spread easily. From November to December, we focused on sharing information on the importance of self-care with students. We covered topics nutrition to sleep, common illnesses such as cold and flu, and knowing how to take care of yourself when symptoms start. Prepare your student with best ways to stay healthy and avoid getting sick.

Send your student back with a Self-Care Package, complete with cold care items: cough syrup, cold medicine, ibuprofen, Tylenol, thermometer, and throat lozenges. Include your personal touches to remind them of home, such as a hot/cold pack, tea and honey, soups, vapor rubs, tissues, maybe even warm socks. And when the coughing, sniffling, and sneezing start, make sure your student knows what to do and when to seek help. Students can find detailed care sheets for cold, flu, and more in our A-Z Resources. You can follow us on Facebook or Twitter for more information specific to student health.

Safe Antibiotic Use:

Did you know at least 80 million antibiotic prescriptions each year are unnecessary? Antibiotics are only needed for treating certain infections caused by bacteria. They do not work on viruses, such as colds and flu, or runny noses, even if the mucus is thick and green. Antibiotics also won’t help some common bacterial infections including most cases of bronchitis, many sinus infections, and some ear infections. Anytime antibiotics are used, they can cause potentially harmful side effects and lead to antibiotic resistance. At Schiffert Health Center we are committed to safe antibiotic use. As healthcare providers we are dedicated to treating each student’s illness in the best way possible. Antibiotics can save lives. When a patient needs antibiotics, the benefits outweigh the risks of side effects or antibiotic resistance. If your student is prescribed an antibiotic, be sure they take them exactly as prescribed. Patients can talk to the doctor, nurse, or pharmacist if they have questions about their antibiotics. Most importantly, patients should use antibiotics correctly. Students should ask their healthcare professional about the best way to feel better while their body fights off the virus. Respiratory viruses usually go away in a week or two without treatment.

We have 40 counselors, 2 psychiatrists, and 3 nurses on-campus at Virginia Tech.  

We offer: 

  • Individual counseling - one-on-one sessions
  • Group counseling - based around topics & needs
  • Psychiatric services
  • Crisis support - on-call counselor available 24 hours a day
  • Sports psychology
  • Educational and outreach programming

The reasons students might seek out counseling are broad and we are always happy to see students come into our office.  Some reasons students might seek counseling are for: 

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Academic concerns
  • Trauma
  • Eating disorders
  • Relationship concerns
  • Adjustment concerns

Three Locations:

  • 240 McComas Hall (540-231-6551)
  • Kent Square Suite (540-231-0826)
  • 170 East Eggleston Hall (540-231-7809)

Our office provides services and accommodations to those with disabilities, and also serves those with temporary disabilities or severe illness.  This includes if a student were to have a concussion, if they broke their wrist and wasn't able to take notes, or if they have an extended illness that was preventing them from being able to perform their usual tasks. 

SSD provides:

  • Support for accommodations
  • Academic relief and suspension appeal
  • Standardized testing

Some accommodations include: 

  • Classroom accommodations
  • Accommodations for the deaf and hard of hearing students
  • Testing centers
  • Note takers
  • Alternative text
  • Special housing

The SSD office will review disability documentations year-round, there is no deadline to apply.  If your student already has a 504 plan or IEP you can submit them to our office.