Town-student friction in Blacksburg
By Christian Trejbal
Trejbal is a member of The Roanoke Times’ editorial board. He is based in the New River Valley.
An old issue has re-emerged in this year’s Blacksburg Town Council race. Some people, when they are being polite, call it the “town-gown divide” or the “student-neighborhood interface.” Mostly, though, it’s “those damn, drunken Virginia Tech kids making noise all night.”
It is not a new problem, and it is not unique to Blacksburg. Any small town with a college in its midst runs into the same issues. Students move off campus into neighborhoods where full-time residents live. Conflicting lifestyles clash. Locals try to sleep at night, and students stay up late reveling. Students try to sleep in, and locals wake up early to mow their lawns and let their children scream outside.
Both sides have good reasons to be upset, though neither side likes to admit it.