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2016 NEH Summer Institute for College and University Teachers

Veterans in Society:

Ambiguities & Representations

10-29 July 2016


Blacksburg, VA,   and   Washington, DC

Housing and transportation



The 2016 Veterans in Society NEH  institute,  Veterans in Society: Ambiguities and Representations, will take place on the campus Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia,  with several days at sites in metropolitan Washington, DC, and locations in between.  On scales large and small, the activities and built environments of these locations invite us to reflect on the diverse, intersecting narratives of veterans and civilians, state and society, contribution and loss.


In Blacksburg, most seminar events will take place in a fully equipped multi-media space in Newman Library.  The library is a short walk from the residence hall, the on-campus dining location, and downtown Blacksburg. 


Outside of Blacksburg, we will engage with scholars and other experts on the multiple identities of veterans at the Library of Congress, Arlington National Cemetery, the National D-Day Memorial (Bedford, Va.), and commemorative sites regarding the American Civil War.  There will be additional opportunities for Summer Scholars to explore veterans-inflected sites on their own.  The Washington segment includes open times for participants to devote to formal research or to share expertise and curiosity.



Summer Scholars will have the opportunity to rent comfortable university housing in Blacksburg and Washington.   


Blacksburg: Should you wish to have housing on campus, New Hall West, an air-conditioned residence hall on the main campus that in summer is reserved for groups like ours – no need to worry about noisy youngsters on campus for band camp or the like.  In fact, in New Hall West you will have an opportunity to cross paths with participants in an NEH summer seminar for school teachers that overlaps ours.  Each room has a private bathroom and one live Ethernet port.   See other amenities here.


Please consult the university's Conference & Guest Services guidelines, along with more detailed descriptions of facilities, which are available online.


Single rooms in on the main campus are available for $59/night, with double rooms for $51. Laundry facilities are located in the basement.  A parking pass for the duration of the institute is included in the room charge.


Wi-Fi is available for a pro-rated fee of $10/month, and the campus also offers limited, short-term guest wireless  (If your home institution participates in Eduroam, you should be able to connect to the Virginia Tech wireless network with no added fee; contact your home institution for instructions, configuration settings, and support.)


The university requires that all residence hall guests purchase meal plans. The total cost of a meal plan including breakfast, lunch, and dinner is $33/day.  (All prices are subject to a 5.3% sales tax.)  Virginia Tech’s dining services are very well regarded. New Hall West also has common kitchens where Summer Scholars will be able to prepare food if desired.


In addition, Summer Scholars have many dining options within walking distance of the seminar location at restaurants in downtown Blacksburg.


Washington (July 17-20): we will reserve a block of rooms at American University. These may be either double-occupancy dorm rooms (and hall bathrooms) or suites with private rooms/shared bathrooms, subject to availability. The cost will be $75/person per night, plus DC’s 14.5% hotel tax, for a total $258/person.



Summer scholars have several options for travel to our primary location, the main campus of Virginia Tech in Blacksburg.  See Virginia Tech’s directions webpage for details about driving, air, rail, and bus connections.   Virginia DOT provides alerts and advice to travelers.


We will provide visitor's parking hang-tags for you for each of the three weeks.  If a pass goes astray, you can get a free (good for a week at a time, and renewable) and display it on your vehicle.  


Blacksburg Transit buses run Monday-Saturday during the summer.

CONSTRUCTION ALERT for DRIVERS:  Avoid the vicinity of the intersection of US 460 and Southgate Drive. That entrance to campus is being massively rebuilt in a multi-year project. 

  • Coming from I-81/Christiansburg on Rte 460 West, use exit 5B (South Main St/Business 460).   Important cross streets: Washington, College, Alumni Mall, and Price's Fork.

  • Coming from the West Virginia side on 460 East, exit at Price's Fork Rd and turn toward downtown.   This route will take you by the university visitors' center and the Inn at Virginia Tech.  Important cross streets: West Campus Dr, Turner, Main.

  • The university posts campus traffic updates online.

The primary airport serving Virginia Tech is Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport, about 45 minutes' drive from campus and served by public transportion as well as rental cars.

If you plan to fly here and rent a car for the duration, several other airports may offer more convenient schedules and cheaper fares:

  1. Lynchburg (Va) Regional Airport is about a two-hour drive from Blacksurg.  Lynchburg is also the nearest Amtrak station.

  2. Piedmont Triad International (Greensboro, NC) is about two and a half hours away.

  3. Charlotte (NC) Douglass International is about three hours away.

  4. Dulles International and Reagan National in Washington are about four hours away, traffic permitting.


In Blacksburg:  we urge you to walk from the residence hall to the seminar location in Newman Library.  The university and town are quite scenic and walkable, but they are also growing and heavily visited, and construction can complicate driving and parking around campus.   

To orient yourself on the  campus map:

  • New Hall West is near the roundabout at Washington and West Campus Dr.

  • Newman Library is near two notable intersections: College Ave and Otey St on one side (by Squires Student Center), and Alumni Mall. Kent St, and Drillfield Dr on the other (across from the memorial Pylons).


If you do bring a car, or even just a bike, Blacksburg is an ideal point of departure for exploring the many recreational and cultural attractions across the New River Valley, metropolitan Roanoke, and Southwest Virginia in general.


In Washington: The institute will provide round trip transportation from Blacksburg to Washington DC.  In Washington, most travel will be by Metro and foot. The directors will provide instructions on routes, travel options, and meeting times. Scholars should expect to pay public transportation fares of approximately $10/day.










The Veterans in Society: Ambiguities and Representations 2016 summer institute for college faculty is a project of
Virginia Tech's Center for the Study of Rhetoric in Society and the University Libraries.  

The 2016 Veterans in Society summer institute has been made possible in part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the human endeavor.  Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this the institute or this website, do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities nor Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

  • ViS institute Facebook group
  • ViS Twitter hashtag #ViSNEH2016
  • ViS LinkedIn conference group

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