An Oktoberfest Primer: What your student may not have told you about one of Longwood’s favorite traditions

Has your student mentioned anything about Oktoberfest?

If not, I thought you might like to know a little about one of Longwood’s favorite annual traditions. With a Farmaritaville theme this year, Oktoberfest is a week of events that kicks off this Sunday, Sept. 24, and concludes with a full day of events on Saturday.

Oktoberfest is a refresher for students at about the midpoint of the semester. Here’s what your students will be experiencing next week:

Bonfire, the traditional kickoff to Oktoberfest, is on Sunday
Spirit activities Monday through Friday, including Beach Day (imagine the campus full of students dressed as if they’re on a tropical vacation) and a Pink Out, where everyone wears pink to kick off Breast Cancer Awareness Month
Service Walk on Thursday
Color Wars on Friday (more about this class-based “paint war” further down)
Saturday, the main event: student organization booths, the Oktoberfest procession followed by the Klown dance and spirit leader performance (in lederhosen, of course), student entertainment and an evening concert featuring four live bands

Bring in the Klowns! It’s a time-honored part of Oktoberfest.

Student organizations set up booths to promote awareness and raise money.

Color Wars, which is part of Oktoberfest, is a tradition on its own, pitting the green classes (students who entered in odd years/freshmen and juniors) against the red classes (students who entered in even years/sophomores and seniors). Most students wear a white T-shirt to this “battle,” which involves slinging as much paint as possible on your opponents, resulting in a unique memento of the event. A winner is usually declared, but it really doesn’t matter which team gets the most paint on the other because “red + green = blue!”

Color Wars is a friendly “battle” of red and green paint.

Oktoberfest is organized by the Longwood Geist Chapter of Mortar Board, a national union of senior honor societies whose mission includes recognizing and encouraging leadership and establishing opportunities for a meaningful exchange of ideas.

—Sabrina Brown

U.S. News rankings put Longwood in the South’s top 10 regional public universities

For the eighth straight year, Longwood has been named a top-10 regional public university in the South in the U.S. News & World Report rankings, which were released today.

Over the last decade, Longwood has secured a place in the upper echelon of the regional collegiate rankings. This year, Longwood is ranked No. 8 among all regional public universities in the South.

Also notable in the rankings this year: Longwood is among the top 25 public and private universities in the South (for the fifth straight year) and has climbed a total of 17 spots over the past three years on the Best Value in the South list.

Other U.S. News shoutouts this year went to the nursing, psychology and undergraduate business programs.

In addition, Money magazine’s 2023 rankings named Longwood as one of America’s Best Colleges, and included Longwood in its Best College Dorms and Best Value Colleges lists.

The full story from Longwood’s website is below.

Happy Monday!

—Sabrina Brown

P.S. It was great to see so many families here for Family Weekend! I hope all of you who made the trip to Farmville had a great time and, most of all, a meaningful visit with your Lancer.

Longwood ranked top 10 in South Region for eighth straight year

For the eighth straight year, Longwood University is a top-10 regional public university in the South, according to the annual U.S. News & World Report rankings out today.

Over the last decade, Longwood has secured a place in the upper echelon of the regional collegiate rankings. This year, Longwood is ranked No. 8 among all regional public universities in the South. This year also marks the fifth straight year of Longwood’s being ranked in the top 25 public and private universities in the South, as well as a climb of 17 spots over the past three years on the Best Value in the South list.

The rankings rise coincides with a continued investment in small classes taught by full-time professors, a course of action few public universities have taken. More than two-thirds of Longwood classes have 20 or fewer students, the highest percentage of any Virginia public college or university. Civitae Core Curriculum classes, the foundational courses that all students take as they develop into citizen leaders, are capped at 25 students.

“The source of our strength is our small classes taught by full-time faculty, individual attention for students, and the opportunities for personal and professional growth that can only be found in a residential academic community,” said President W. Taylor Reveley IV. “Rankings can never paint a complete picture of life on campus, but they can reflect the kind of meaningful investments in academics and faculty that we have made over the past 10 years at Longwood.”

Longwood’s latest U.S. News ranking—used by millions of high-schoolers and families to make decisions about higher education—is bolstered by a climb in the rankings on its Best Schools for Social Mobility list. U.S. News announced that their ratings formula changed this year, favoring metrics like prestige of faculty publications over past measures like alumni donation rates.

The nursing program, which was named the Best BSN Program in the Southeast for 2022 by, again made the nationwide U.S. News list, bolstered by its near-perfect pass rate on nursing licensure exams over the past seven years. Longwood’s psychology and undergraduate business programs are also highlighted on nationwide lists.

“I’m particularly proud of our measurement on social mobility,” continued Reveley. “We have always considered it a great strength of Longwood that students from all walks of life—from those for whom college is a given to those who thought it was out of reach—don’t just earn a degree at this university, they flourish as people. I’m proud of our continued investment in them and in programs that support their success.”

Longwood was also named one of America’s Best Colleges by Money magazine and is featured on Best College Dorms and Best Value Colleges by

Upgrades to internet speed and connections are coming in January

Come January, wired and WiFi internet speeds in residence halls, Lancer Park and Longwood Landings will get a significant boost, thanks to the university’s investment in upgrading its network in those buildings.

Students will receive technical support for connectivity issues 24/7/365 directly from Shentel, the university’s internet provider.

Uploading and downloading will be faster

Starting in January, the new internet service will offer a faster speed of 100/100 Mbps through both wired and WiFi connections. This means is that students will be able to upload and download data at a faster rate of 100 Mbps (megabits per second).

Mark Kendrick, associate vice president for Information Technology Services (ITS), said Longwood understands that internet service and its performance are crucial for students in their academic and extracurricular activities. With the recent upgrade, he added, students will experience faster uploading and downloading. This will result in less buffering and more uninterrupted viewing, especially when streaming content on platforms like Netflix or Hulu.

Faster upload speeds will aid in transferring large files, such as high-resolution photographs used in art classes, as well as facilitating file sharing in group projects, Kendrick said.

More and better connections

Also part of this project is the upgrading and increase of WAPs (wireless access points), which connect computers and other devices to wireless Internet service.

Audrey Bright, Shentel’s director of enterprise sales who has been collaborating closely with Kendrick, said they will be upgrading 157 WAPs and installing 109 new ones to improve connectivity in the residence halls and apartment buildings, including in the rooms of students.

“Overall, coverage is very good in each of the covered buildings,” she said. “However, there are some weak spots, and Shentel will be adding WAPs to enhance coverage and capacity in areas with weak signal and/or high demand. Shentel is very excited to continue our partnership with Longwood in enhancing the student experience through technology that grows along with student needs.”

The upgrades won’t function optimally—meaning slower internet speeds—unless students help with one critical part of the process, Kendrick said. If your student is using their own WAP or mobile hotspot, please encourage them to disable it when the new system becomes operational.

“We know that some students have purchased their own WAPs and turn on their mobile hotspot in an attempt to improve their internet performance,” Kendrick said. “While they may improve coverage in a specific area or for a specific student or group of students, they interfere with the performance of the network, and can negatively impact the experience of other students nearby. The effectiveness of the upgrades will be compromised by the interference that these unmanaged devices create.

“Please allow the new system to function at its highest and most effective level by removing these boosters in January.”

Technical support 24/7/365 from Shentel

If your student is experiencing connectivity issues and is unable to access the internet, Shentel is available to provide technical support 24/7/365. Simply have your student call 855-267-7289 for assistance. For other technical issues, please have your student contact Longwood’s Help Desk at 434-395-4357.

Funding for the project

A portion of the funding for this upgrade is coming from the reallocation of funds that were previously used for cable TV service, Kendrick said, adding that this decision was made after observing and receiving feedback from students living in Longwood-managed housing, where less than 1 percent of residents are currently utilizing cable TV.

“Given the substantial decline in cable TV use, we wanted to put those resources toward the network upgrade,” said Kendrick. “Longwood is committed to providing students with the tools they need to be successful academically, and technology is high on that list.”

—Sabrina Brown