The Oddities of Virginia Tech

Virginia Tech Campus

By Danielle Polo
By Danielle Polo
Unigo Campus Rep at Virginia Tech

1. Virginia Tech inspired the opening scene of the movie “Slackers”: 

One largely unknown story is that a student at Virginia Tech inspired the opening scene of “Slackers.” In the scene, a student in a large classroom throws his test, along with all of the other students’ tests, in the air to avoid getting an F. Because the class is so big, the professor cannot find the original student’s test in the pile. While this may be just an urban legend— there is no real information about who this student was, what class he was in, or how the story made its way into the movie— it may very well be true considering Virginia Tech has several classes with hundred of students in each.

2. The Hokie Stone 

The Hokie Stone is dolomite limestone with a varied gray, brown, black, pink, orange, and maroon coloring that is unique to Southwestern Virginia. In 1983, the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors required that some Hokie Stone be incorporated into the construction of every new building on campus.

In addition to helping give the buildings on campus a recognizable look, Hokie Stones are used in important campus monuments: they serve as biographical markers outside each campus building, providing a brief history of the person for which the building is named, and thirty-two Hokie Stones lay at the top drill-field to commemorate the victims of the April 16, 2007 shootings. When coming onto the field before games, Virginia Tech football players touch the Hokie Stone located the top of the tunnel’s exit for good luck.

3. The Duck Pond 

Virginia Tech’s beloved Duck Pond, located on Duck Pond Drive off of South Gate Drive, is one of the most scenic parts of the campus and a common place for students and visitors to hang out. People picnic or fish there and in the past, when it still froze over during the winter, it was an ideal location for ice-skating. The myth here? Students are told during orientation that if they circle the Duck Pond three times with their significant others, they will end up engaged.

4. Hauntings 

The Blacksburg area has several buildings that are considered haunted. For example, the former Holiday Inn’s Attitudes Bar and Grill, across campus off of Prices Fork Road, is built on the grounds of what was Jacob's Lantern Plantation. Supposedly the management has heard laughing and voices after the club was closed and empty. The staff at the hotel has called the club to ask them to turn the volume of the music down when no music was even being played.

The Lyric Theater in downtown Blacksburg has a history of strange events, including one confirmed death during the construction of the theater; employees hearing loud footsteps on the stairs to the balcony and the projection booth; people stopping on their way up the stairs to the balcony after feeling a cold breeze pass them; employees and customers reporting hearing the voice of a man talking to himself in the balcony; and, most frighteningly, an invisible woman shrieking at the top of her lungs.

The abandoned building that used to be the Blacksburg Middle School is also considered haunted by students. The former school is close to campus and downtown, and is the best known haunted place among students.

5. The Gargoyles 

Lots of Virginia Tech buildings have gargoyles, especially the older ones. While they may have had some purpose in history, for the most part they are just decorative. Some are unique to their specific buildings, such as the "cowgoyles" seen on a few of the agricultural buildings. The superstition is that students must find and count all of the gargoyles on campus before they graduate or else they will have bad luck.