As I talk to students, faculty, staff, and also a lot of alumni, there is a tremendous sense of shock that this could have happened to Virginia Tech.
I am sure that anyone would say that no matter where something like this happened, but it seems even more so here in Blacksburg. I graduated from VT almost a decade ago but still keep in contact with many friends and professors and I admit it, I still keep up with the news on campus as much as someone 10 years out of school and in D.C. can.
Alumni and students take great pride in and are fiercely loyal to their school (we have to spend the rest of our lives explaining what a Hokie is -- which can be done in a separate setting!) But Tech has always been such a relatively calm and quiet place.
There's usually some small controversy or talk of the campus/town, but in the grand scheme of things, nothing is that big of a deal. In recent days, there were of course the bomb threats that were serious stories but in general, the hot topics on campus have been:
- The men's basketball team had a stellar season, (a complete rarity) making it to the second round of March Madness
- The missing Hokie Bird statues throughout campus (artwork in the style of the party animals or pandas in D.C. or the cows in Chicago) which were apparently taken as a prank by students from another university
- "Girls Gone Wild" was scheduled to be in town this week to tape a segment, and there was a growing movement organizing a boycott. University officials were doing everything they could to discourage any student's participation.
Of course, none of that matters anymore, but I just say all that to reiterate that this was the last thing that students expected to happen on campus in this small college town.
From everyone on campus I've been talking to, I don't think the enormity of it all has really sunk in. There is definitely a profound sense of shock in absolutely everyone I've talked to that probably won't go away anytime soon.
-- By Becky Brittain, CNN Producer