While residential colleges are well established at smaller liberal arts colleges and Ivy League universities, they have also grown in popularity at public institutions. This concept offers unique opportunities for learning and mentorship here at Virginia Tech. The increased interactions with the live-in faculty principal, other affiliated faculty, graduate students, and peers from all academic disciplines and years provides a thriving sense of community that supports academic and civic engagement.

The residential college will center around the shared values of:

  • belonging to a supportive environment where members are responsible to each other,
  • curiosity and an interest in lifelong learning, and
  • engagement within and outside the community through active participation and service.

When students graduate from the university and their residential college community, they will have gained more than knowledge in their chosen subject matter; they will possess experience in analytical thinking, creative problem solving, and finding common ground among diverse groups of people.

"The Residential College at West AJ is an open community with many events, which has given me the opportunity to meet several people from all over the building. I also enjoy the weekly FaculTeas on Mondays in the Faculty Principal’s apartment where I learn new ideas from speakers that challenge me to think differently.”  Freshman, 1st year in the Res College

College-Wide Traditions

Monday FaculTeas
This event is, in some ways, at the core of the mission of the Residential College at West Ambler Johnston – our shared spaces, our vera universitas. Every Monday at 4pm, all junior fellows are invited into the home of the Faculty Principal to share tea, coffee, and snacks and listen to a presentation from a guest – these can range from faculty from all disciplines across campus, to scholars from other universities, to journalists, to professional athletes, among others. Presenters keep their talks brief and conversational so that there’s plenty of time for questions and discussion with the guest, your neighbors, and the affiliated faculty of the Residential College. The house with the best attendance at FaculTeas across the year wins the coveted “Golden Teacup Award.”

Thursday House Dinners
Also embodying our idea of the importance of shared spaces, each Thursday evening between 5-7 p.m. at D2 Dining Hall, we gather to share a meal together. There’s no formal program but we have a room reserved just for our community, so you can eat with your friends, make some new ones, and chat with other undergraduates, grad students, and affiliated faculty.

Aims of Education
The signature event of the Residential College at West AJ that takes place on the Sunday before classes start in the Fall semester See more here.

Kick-Off Kickball Tournament
Taking place the Saturday before classes start in the Fall semester, this friendly competition pits the houses against one another for bragging rights that last the whole year.

Founder’s Day
Taking place each October 23 (the day the decision was made to repurpose West AJ into a Residential College), the community solemnly (and not so solemnly) celebrates the occasion by laying mementoes on the plaque of the Residential College, outside our West Entrance.

End-of-Semester and End-of-Year Parties
These are just plain good times and planned by the student leadership of the Residential College, working in collaboration with one another.

Individual House Traditions

In addition to everything listed above, each house has taken on its own character and developed its own traditions that the Junior Fellows respect and uphold. This could range from Hickory’s “Pancake Night,” to Holly’s “AppleFest,” to Hawthorn’s “Howl Nights,” to Honey Locust’s special house chant. See our Google Calendar for more.