Students are required to bring a computer with them to Virginia Tech, so every student has one. For those times when you need to get out of your dorm room to study, your computer crashes, or you need to do group work, there are many computer labs available around campus. The main computer lab used by Tech students is the Math Emporium, located off campus at the end of a strip mall. It has around 500 computers, provides computer and math tutors during the day, and is open 24 hours every day. For more sophisticated programs, however, students must go to other labs around campus. The Emporium never fills up, but it can get crowded and a little noisy during exam weeks. Labs on campus tend to be small (about 20 available computers) and fill up quickly. Most labs only offer Macs, but a few labs have PCs. No matter where you go, though, expect to pay to print. Virginia Tech doesn’t have Internet firewalls that block file-sharing, but the University does urge students to be aware of copyright laws when using programs like KaZaA, Morpheus, and eMule.
Virginia Tech’s coolest feature is the availability of wireless Internet on 90 percent of its campus. Currently wireless and Ethernet are both free to students and easy to access from almost anywhere on campus, from the study lounges to the classrooms, from the student centers to the gyms. Coffee shops downtown and around Blacksburg are following the wireless trend and provide free wireless Internet to their customers. Whether it’s taking notes in class or surfing the Web between classes, many students choose to keep their computer close by their side wherever they go.