StudentsReview :: Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University - Extra Detail about the Comment
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Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

How this student rated the school
Research QualityB+ Research AvailabilityC-
Research FundingF Graduate PoliticsD+
Errand RunnersA- Degree CompletionA+
Alternative pay [ta/gsi]A+ Sufficient PayA+
CompetitivenessA Education QualityD+
Faculty AccessibilityB- Useful ResearchA-
ExtracurricularsC- Success-UnderstandingB+
Surrounding City- Social Life/EnvironmentA
"Individual" treatmentF FriendlinessC
SafetyA+ Campus BeautyD+
Campus MaintenanceF University Resource/spendingF
Describes the student body as:
Friendly, Afraid, Broken Spirit

Describes the faculty as:
Friendly, Self Absorbed

Lowest Rating
Research Funding
Highest Rating
Degree Completion
He cares more about Campus Maintenance than the average student.
Date: Dec 31 1969
Major: Physics (This Major's Salary over time)
I chose Virginia Tech because everybody in the physics department was very friendly and welcoming, and it is still the case. After six years here, however, I have noticed several problems with the university's operations and it seems the comradery I had first experienced within the department has been a necessity to withstand these injustices. For example, Virginia Tech takes 61% (higher than the national average of 52%) of any grant proposal I help my adviser write and directs these funds towards "hot research" topics like nano-materials, bioinformatics and neuroscience. My adviser's share of his own grant is not even enough to support me with the RA that I need. Our building is in desperate need of major repairs and even a complete renovation, but Virginia Tech focuses all of its building finances into renting cheap and showy complexes like the Corporate Research Center (CRC) instead of taking care of existing academic buildings. I need to run the AC in my office (that I had to buy myself after I passed out from heat exhaustion during the summer in my office) during the winter to cancel out the uncontrollable heater that connects three different rooms in the building. This leads to my next comments about the environmental nightmare that is Virginia Tech.

Virginia Tech's environmental goals and achievements are completely hypocritical. I joined an environmental student group on campus called "Beyond Coal" that initially tried to convince Virginia Tech to upgrade its 90+ year-old coal (yes, coal) plant to partially use biomass for fuel. By the time I left the group, our goals had shifted instead to including the word "coal" on Virginia Tech's webpage which describes their power plant. They wouldn't even do that. Virginia Tech also considered destroying a 400+ year old-growth forest on campus (i.e. Stadium Woods) for a new indoor athletic facility next to the stadium so that the athletes "didn't have to walk as far" to get to the stadium. Regardless of the public uproar from the students and community protesting this plan, the only group that convinced Virginia Tech to keep Stadium Woods was the ROTC, an equally large organization who practice drills in the forest. Virginia Tech still has not approved the policy to protect Stadium Woods from future development, football players are still given special privileges to park their cars on the roots of the forest, and the facilities department continues to mow the grass under the forest canopy while landscaping with highly invasive species around campus. Virginia Tech's biggest environmental awards are due to its sustainability initiative to "reduce campus greenhouse gas emissions to 80% below 1990 levels by 2050". This is a goal that is entirely impossible due to Virginia Tech's current rate of construction and they've been milking the awards for all they're worth until they're exposed in 2050.

The new president of the university is determined to make Virginia Tech the fastest growing university in the state. Virginia Tech was already too large to function, and the explosive growth we are going through is far from sustainable, either environmentally or economically. If you attend Virginia Tech, expect your mandatory student fees to heavily increase while the corresponding services provided by the university become over-crowded or reserved for specific types of students. Student parking passes have been increasing in price to "encourage" students to use the environmentally-friendly albeit over-crowded bus service. Even with a parking pass, I had to pay to park on the weekend of a football game just to pick up some lab reports from my office.

I have now ranted about three problems I have fought to correct at Virginia Tech. I have tried to address a total of thirteen such problems during my time here by meeting with Ombudspersons, Deans, Chairs, Provosts and Presidents of the university to raise awareness of these injustices. Some listen and reply with "there's nothing we can do" while others talk over me, reciting university policy as though it was their autobiography. I'm just a graduate student; I shouldn't have to deal with university politics, research funding or building repairs. Despite the student fees I pay and the research fees my adviser pays instead of me, Virginia Tech does not provide the research environment it advertises. I have no rights, privileges, protection or voice among the hordes of undergraduates, alumni, investors and sports fans that Virginia Tech exclusively caters to.

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Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University