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Virginia Tech Giving Day

Giving Day is a 24-hour celebration of the Hokie Spirit and the power of giving back, occurring annually in February. Giving Day is a special opportunity for Virginia Tech students, employees, alumni, family, and friends to come together virtually and show their support for their favorite Virginia Tech departments, programs, student organizations, and teams. 

Giving Day 2024 will be February 21-22, 12pm-12pm ET. This year, one of our goals is to raise $7,500 for Student Travel Awards. The success of last year's Giving Day led to the creation of 2 Travel Awards. If we hit our monetary goal, then we'll be able to present a third Travel Award to a deserving student. We're also aiming to get at least 100 participants to donate. There are percentage growth incentives for participation which means additional funds towards our efforts. Please consider sharing our Giving Day messaging and donation link with your fellow alumni, friends, and family. By coming together as a community, the funds raised will directly benefit current students and provide them with life-changing experiences through travel!

Giving Day 2024

Travel Award Recipient Testimonials


Receiving the travel award heavily impacted my decision to go on the trip. Without the award, it would have been a much greater financial burden that I wasn’t sure I could commit to, so I was incredibly grateful for the opportunity it brought me! The award helped pay for a significant portion of the program fee and my flight expenses, and because of it, I was able to fully focus on immersing myself in the trip.

During our time in Ecuador at the Regeneration Field Institute’s facility, we learned a ton about bamboo from lectures and workshops given by local architects and craftsmen. By the end of our time there, we had built an elevated one-room bamboo structure on the farm that would go on to serve as a nature observation/meditation space. Starting the program with little-to-no experience designing and building with bamboo and ending it seeing this structure we created was so rewarding! One of my favorite aspects of the trip was how immersive and hands-on the education was. Not only did we learn so much about bamboo, but we were surrounded by acres of it growing alongside countless other tropical plants and animals. I also loved the opportunities we had to hike through tropical forests and get face to face with some breathtaking nature; during one hike, we saw a family of howler monkeys!

I see the travel award significantly impacting future VTID students by opening doors that may have otherwise been closed due to financial burdensMy study abroad experience gave me a perspective I would never have gained anywhere else, and the travel award can help give other students the same thing. I would advise any student who finds a program that interests them to pursue it enthusiastically and once they’re in it, to really immerse themselves in the opportunities it brings.

Avery Gendell, 2023 IDAB Travel Award Recipient


Part of my travels were supported by the IDAB Travel Award and I am extremely grateful to have been awarded the funds to help provide such an incredible opportunity for my design career and personal experience. Truthfully, it was an immense relief and honor to receive that additional funding. The Travel Award covered the cost of my flight (they get very pricey!) and a portion of my dining expenses while I was abroad.

Going into the trip I knew I wanted to find a design topic I was passionate about and I was looking to improve my sketching and observational skills- which thankfully I did! I eventually narrowed down my topic to researching water features and fixtures throughout the cities and towns we traveled through, and I was able to present my research findings and documentation upon our return during the Fall 2023 semester.

This opportunity to observe and interact with design internationally, while being surrounded by equally eager-to-learn design students was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. We saw first-hand how cultural differences can influence and impact the design of the surrounding built environment. Having the chance to see the world and design through a different lens is something I am now able to take with me as I begin my professional career after graduation in May.

The Travel Award is a great opportunity to give back to the students who will become our future designers. In facilitating international experiences for them, IDAB and donors are investing in making those trips much easier to manage and simply more possible for students who are looking to learn and expand their design and global knowledge and experiences.

Gabriela Colon-Melendez, 2023 IDAB Travel Award Recipient

Why Your Financial Support is Important

In the spring of 2021, the Industrial Design Program developed a strategic plan that included 5 major target areas over a three year period. We reflected on the successes and challenges of our program by gathering data from students, faculty, staff, and stakeholders to set a healthy trajectory for VTID. Our first commitment is to engage in this planning process regularly and communicate with our community each semester about our progress. Our second goal is the recruitment and retention of students, faculty, and staff. We are always looking to support our Hokie community in a holistic way. Our third initiative is to improve course offerings and specialized proficiencies for our students, these new and developing perspectives keep us on the cutting edge of our profession and design research. We also have been focusing on inclusive activities for a diverse audience. The college has already reached its 2025 DEI goal of having the most diverse entering first year class with over 25% underrepresented students, but our responsibility doesn’t stop there, we work to provide programs representative of our global perspective. 

Our final ambition in this plan is to increase opportunities for immersive learning and professional development. The outcome we are holding ourselves to is that every student can participate in an internship or study abroad program while a student in Industrial Design at Virginia Tech. We are two years into a three year plan and we have some final barriers to remove to be successful in this mighty endeavor. In relation to internships, the first year we established a database of internship opportunities and a system for sending weekly news blasts so that students were informed of their opportunities. We increased company participation at the career fair and kicked off year two with an online career fair hosted by IDAB. Our students increased their use of Handshake, our campus career service database, and we had a record number of students in our semester away internship program. We have increased the number of portfolio courses we offer to students and are increasing our online presence. In this final year, we want to formalize a more robust system for matching students with a larger number of companies and potentially open our own community design center that employs student designers in a nurturing environment. 

Study abroad programs are just as important to student development as internships. We were able to resume our study abroad program in 2022 with 17 students and 2 faculty from Industrial Design and Landscape Architecture; it was brilliant and blazing hot in Portugal, Spain, and France. In 2023, our students will have the chance to travel to Europe, Africa, and South America to study urban experiences, healthcare design, and bamboo! The first year of this plan was harder to jump start because of the pandemic, the second year we got back on track with a successful program, and this year we have multiple options. We have made it through travel restrictions and are a much more globally oriented program with multiple options, but the financial barrier for students to travel is keeping them from experience. Tuition, program fees, and travel expenses are overwhelming for students, especially if they are already utilizing traditional financial aid. In the third year of our plan, it has become critical that we increase our scholarship support for students who otherwise would not be able to participate. 


In a recent college meeting with President Tim Sands, we discussed the university initiative in bettering access and affordability for our comprehensive university. That is why we are asking our design network to participate in Giving Day 2023. Last year the program was able to offer its first travel scholarship in the program thanks to the revenue from our alumni reunion registration fees. The award was the right first step, but we need to do more to increase access and affordability for our students. It was too small to make an impact and it only helped one student. We can do more together.

Statement from the Virginia Tech Industrial Design Program

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