This week in GSA 2.8.16

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2016 Hokie Day

Last week, we had several GSA officers and delegates join undergraduate and fellow graduate students at the 2016 Hokie Day in Richmond, VA. This was a chance for students to speak with state legislators about the importance of providing funding to higher education institutes and research initiatives at Virginia Tech. Thank you to all the graduate students who attended this year’s event! For more information and photos visit the Virginia Tech Student Government’s Facebook page.

Facebook photos of Hokie Day 2016

Community Vigil Held in Downtown Blacksburg

The Blacksburg community will gather in the street on College Avenue between Main Street and Draper Road in Downtown Blacksburg to honor Nicole Lovell’s life. Individuals of all ages are encouraged to attend. There will be speakers, a hymn, and a moment of silence by candlelight. There will be a limited number of candles, so if you are able, we ask that you consider bringing your own.

The vigil will be MONDAY, FEBRUARY 8, AT 7:30PM.

“I have spoken to the family of Nicole Lovell and while they are devastated by the loss of their precious daughter, they hold no ill feelings towards anyone other than the individuals who are responsible for her death. They would like nothing better than to have Nicole’s memory be associated with building a greater sense of community. College Avenue has always been a gathering place for the community to come together as one. The family has no reservations with any celebration of Nicole’s life being held there and appreciates the outpouring of support they have received during this extremely difficult time.”

–Chief Anthony Wilson (Blacksburg Police Department)

If there are any questions, please contact:  Womanspace+ and Take Back the Night

Please do not hesitate to reach out for support for yourself or others:

Students in Distress: Who to Contact?

Celebrate Black History Month!

It is the second week of Black History Month! Celebrations continue with events each week. This Friday events include Connecting the Black Past to the Black Present: The Continuity of Our History with Dr. Mario Beatty. Dr. Beatty is an Associate Professor in Howard University’s Department of AfroAmerican Studies and is former chair of the Department of African-American Studies at Chicago State University. This event includes a workshop on Friday afternoon (1:00pm-3:00pm, Newman Library Multipurpose Room), and a Keynote Lecture (6:00pm-7:30pm, Squires Haymarket Theatre). When we celebrate Black History Month, we are celebrating our entire history, not just our experience in the Americas.

The Intercultural Engagement Center will include information throughout the month.

For more information on the schedule of events:

Flint, Michigan Water Crisis Graduate Students

In January, Virginia Tech hosted a forum and presentation with Marc Edwards, the lead investigator on the Flint, Michigan water research study. His work has been at the forefront of our national dialogue on the public health emergency and crisis in Flint, MI. The GSA would like to recognize the graduate students working with Marc Edwards on this very important research initiative.

Civil and environmental engineering graduate students working on this research include:

  • Rebekah Martin, of Midlothian, Virginia;
  • Min Tang of Chingqing, China;
  • William Rhoads of Joplin, Missouri;
  • Emily Garner of Swanton, Maryland;
  • Christina Devine of Alexandria, Virginia;
  • Anurag Mantha of Hyderabad, India;
  • Ni Zhu of Hubei, China;
  • Pan Ji of Xianyang, China; and
  • Siddhartha Roy of Palanpur, India.

These graduate students are part of the independent, voluntary team at Virginia Tech researching the toxicity of water in Flint, Michigan. For more information on their research initiative, visit the website:

Open Forum with Provost Rikikas

Graduate students! You are invited to an open forum hosted by the American Association of University Professors on Friday, February 19th from 2:30 – 4:30 pm.

More information can be found here:

Board of Visitors Graduate Student Representative
Applications DUE FRIDAY

Do you want to help make decisions that affect the entire university community? Apply to serve as the graduate student representative to the Board of Visitors (BoV).

More information can be found here:

Applications due February 12th, 2016

How to Navigate Schiffert Student Health:
Summer Day Fees & Reimbursement

Visiting the Schiffert Student Health Center at Virginia Tech in the summer can be a complicated issue to navigate. We have some new information regarding referrals and reimbursements for services at Schiffert as well as some tips and information on who to contact with your questions.

Can graduate students receive care at Schiffert Health over the summer at no cost?

It depends.

  • Graduate students who are enrolled in summer courses are eligible to receive services over the summer at no cost. Graduate students who are not enrolled in courses (this includes graduate instructors), are not eligible to receive services at Schiffert without having to pay a day fee. More information for graduate students specifically found here.

What is the day fee?

  • This is a charge students pay in order to receive care if they are not eligible to receive services for free because of their enrollment status. The day fee charge is approximately $59 per visit. For students who plan to use Schiffert once or twice during the summer, this day fee charge may be more economical. For students who plan to use Schiffert more frequently, it may be in your best pay the student summer health fee (which costs approximately $194.50).

Can I get reimbursed for the day fee costs?

  • YES! According to new information from the assistant vice president for student affairs, Chris Wise, Virginia Tech graduate students may be reimbursed for the $59 day fee, unless it is going towards the yearly deductible. Questions? Contact Arlene Harris ( or call Controller’s office division of Student Health Insurance at (540) 231-6226.

Can I get reimbursed for the summer health fee?

  • No, at this time students may not be reimbursed for the $195 (approximately) summer health fee.

Can I see other doctors during the summer?

  • Yes. In fact, it is strongly encouraged that if you need to seek out non-emergency medical care during the summer you visit VelocityCare by Carilion on located on Turner Street NE. For a list of services offered visit their website. Remember, student health insurance provides coverage through July 31st, 2016.
Which leads us to our next piece of information…

Is it required that I have a referral from Schiffert to receive care somewhere else?

  • No. A referral from Schiffert is NOT REQUIRED or necessary in order for you to receive treatment or book appointments at an outside provider.

What if I am being treated at Schiffert and want to seek outside providers for treatment?

  • If you have started treatment at Schiffert prior to seeking out an outside provider, you may be eligible to receive enhanced benefits for services when care if provided by a Preferred Aetna Provider (as indicated by Tier 1 in your 2015-2016 insurance plan brochure).

A referral is not required in the following circumstances:

  • Emergency Room Services
  • Treatment received when Schiffert Health Center is closed.
  • Care received outside a 20 mile radius from the Blacksburg Campus
  • Maternity
  • Satellite Campus enrolled students
  • Treatment is for an Emergency Medical Condition
  • Obstetric and Gynecological Treatment
  • Pediatric Care
  • Preventive/Routine Services (services considered preventive according to Health Care Reform and/or services rendered not to diagnosis or treat an Accident or Sickness).

What’s being done about health insurance and student services over the summer for graduate students?

Administrators in the Graduate School continue to advocate for graduate student benefits and have put forth their recommendations for the 2016-2017 school year. The GSA knows your concerns and fully supports the work and advocacy being done for graduate students. As more information comes available, we will do our best to send out information.

If you have questions regarding your student health insurance please do not hesitate to contact the Office of Student Medical Insurance. They are NOT an insurance company, they are a customer service office.

If you participate in student health insurance, they will meet with you discuss plan benefits and help submit claims.

If you are a participant in student health insurance, they can still work with you to provide guidance and help locate your own plan’s administrator.

Clinical Services

In light of recent news events, here is a refresher on mental health, academic relief, and counseling resources for all Virginia Tech students. Remember, as graduate students, especially instructors, we have a lot of interaction with students. If you or someone you know is having trouble, there is no shame is reaching out for more information and assistance:

Not sure if you need to refer or contact services?

Contact Office of Student Conduct: (540) 231-3787 or Online

Calls to Dean of Students Office are welcomed and encouraged.