Virginia Tech welcomes record class to campus as orientation begins

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BLACKSBURG, Va. (WDBJ) -- The new wave of Hokies has arrived and, this year, freshman orientation is more bustling than usual.

As the record-setting class gets its bearings, the university is still preparing for their arrival behind the scenes. (Photo source: WDBJ7)

"I think this is really an exciting time to be a Hokie," said new student family programs board member Hannah Stratton. "We have the largest class at Virginia Tech this year and so getting to work alongside these students and welcome them into the greatest experience that I've ever had, I'm super excited."

Stratton was an orientation leader last summer and she wanted to be a part of the freshman rite of passage again this year.

As the record-setting class gets its bearings, the university is still preparing for their arrival behind the scenes.

"We knew how many students we needed to find beds for and we do know that we have beds for all of our students," said university spokesperson Tracy Vosburgh.

Those beds were added in both the Holiday Inn and the Inn at Virginia Tech. The university also transformed some student lounges and double-occupancy rooms with the proper dimensions into larger living spaces.

"We are not taking what should be a single and making it a double, or what should be a double and making it a triple at the cost of what would be an appropriate space for a student to have," Vosburgh said.

The enrollment spike has also led to academic adjustments, including the hiring of 50 new faculty members, Vosburgh said.

That means more class sections will be made available for those highest in demand and some labs will be added in the evenings.

"We will not be doing weekend teaching, and so there will not be students who need to get up and go to a class on Saturday morning, and that's probably a good thing," Vosburgh said.

While Monday was only day one, Stratton says, as far as orientation goes, so far so good.

"I haven't noticed anything crazy different since day one started but we have added some orientation sessions to kind of meet the needs so that it doesn't get overly crowded and so, we're doing our best to work with what we've got," she said.

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