The annual Welcome Picnic at Lane Stadium is a long-standing tradition at the opening of the academic year. An estimated 8,500 students will have dinner, watch the Virginia Tech cheerleaders perform, meet fellow students, and immerse themselves in Hokie spirit.

Scheduled for Aug. 24 from 4:30 to 6 p.m., this year’s event will be the first zero-waste welcome picnic -- meaning that Dining Services will use nothing but compostable or recyclable disposables for the event. 

“In the past, food was served in foam to-go containers and thrown in the trash,” said Rial Tombes, sustainability coordinator for dining services. “This event would fill an entire roll-off container – between 30 and 40 cubic yards of trash. This year we will be using compostable to-go containers as well as compostable utensil kits. Everything will be compostable except for the beverage containers, which are recyclable.” 

Tombes said a large part of making the event a success is volunteer support from students and university community members. Waste stations with recycling bins next to compost bins will be set up throughout the South Concourse of Lane Stadium, with volunteers instructing attendees on where to throw their compostables and recyclables. 

“This will be a huge effort,” said Tombes. “We’ll need more than 100 volunteers to make this event a success.”

Those who would like to volunteer can sign up to volunteer online.

The picnic is listed as a Virginia Green Event, which highlights Virginia Tech’s commitment to sustainability through recycling, using compostable and recyclable disposables, minimizing the use of printed materials, and reducing waste.

Each year, students are invited to walk through the tunnel the football team uses, touch the official Hokie Stone for good luck, and stroll the length of the field on their way to becoming official members of the Virginia Tech community. 

This year’s program will feature coaches and team members from the men’s and women’s basketball and soccer teams, the volleyball team, and the football team. The Virginia Tech HighTechs, Virginia Tech cheerleaders, and the Marching Virginians will also perform.

Food will be set up on South Concourse. The menu by Personal Touch Catering will include hot dogs with chili, BBQ, garden burgers, baked beans, coleslaw, potato salad, watermelon from the Dining Services Garden at Kentland Farm, pasta salad, cookies, sodas, and water.

Students living on-campus can bring their residence hall room keys for entry. Off-campus dining plan holders can pick up a ticket at the picnic entrance by showing their Hokie Passport ID. Guest tickets can be purchased for $11.35, cash only. The event will be held rain or shine in the South End Zone.

The annual Welcome Picnic at Lane Stadium is sponsored by the Division of Student Affairs and the Department of Athletics.

Written by Sandy Broughton.
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