Ranked as a top-tier research university, Virginia Commonwealth University is a major player in biotechnology, environmental sciences, and other disciplines. About 31,000 undergraduate and graduate students study here, making VCU a prominent presence in Richmond. So, it should come as no surprise that when it comes to Virginia Commonwealth University events, there are plenty to choose from. Here’s a guide to the must-attend annual and recurring events on and off-campus.
Every August, students are made to feel at home via a series of events that are all part of Welcome Week. The offerings are so vast that a guidebook app was developed so students can get the most out of the week. Events are held all over campus every day. Some examples include a Throwback Night featuring a dance party and bingo, a student VIP shopping event at the campus’ Barnes and Noble store with special discounts, campus tours, book discussion groups, a bicycle tour of Richmond, a day hike in the Blue Ridge Mountains, scavenger hunts, mixers according to major, class photos, a campus-wide block party, stand-up paddling outings, open mic nights, safety seminars, and much more. If you need more of an incentive to attend, here’s a big one: You’ll get a color-coded ticket for each event you attend. Turn in your tickets at the end of the week and you might win a prize — the grand prize is one semester of free in-state tuition!
Since 2014, VCU has held a series of events dubbed The MLK Celebration Week to commemorate the life of Martin Luther King Jr. and his commitment to public service. The event begins every year with a candlelight vigil at the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity; King was a member of this fraternity. Students, faculty, and staff are encouraged to participate in various community service projects in King’s memory. A reenactment of King’s “I Have a Dream” speech is traditionally performed by an actor, followed by discussions of this and his other speeches. A forum is held on the modern civil rights movement as well as a symposium on the Black Lives Matter movement. The week is rounded out by a blood drive, concert, and an interfaith panel discussion involving spiritual representatives.
Some great events are also held off-campus, and one of the best is the Broad Appetit Food Festival, which takes place every June. A notable aspect of this event is that it’s affordable, unlike other food festivals. More than 70 of Richmond’s top restaurants set up on West Broad Street between Henry and Adams and offer samples of their food for just $3 per plate or $5 for a combo plate. Virginia-brewed beers are also on hand. Not only does the festival offer some of the best cuisine that Richmond has to offer, there’s also live music on two stages as well as cooking demonstrations and a chef vs. chef cooking competition.
It’s clear that both Richmond and Virginia Commonwealth University events offer plenty of fun year-round for students who live on and off campus as well as for the community as a whole!