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move-in volunteerMore than 4,300 freshmen will officially become new Volunteers as they head to campus for the fall semester.

Members of the Class of 2017 will take part in UT traditions and get to know the campus through Welcome Week activities that run through next Sunday. Classes begin Wednesday.

About 7,100 students will begin moving into the campus’s 11 residence halls at 8:00 a.m. on Saturday, August 17. UT staff and community volunteers will be on hand to help unload cars and answer questions. Chancellor Jimmy G. Cheek also will stop by to welcome students and their families.

Throughout the week, the 2013 Welcome Leaders – a team of 175 upperclass student leaders – will welcome, guide, and mentor UT’s class of 2017. Here are some of the highlights for first-year and returning students:

  • Sunday, August 18—New Student Picnic, Torch Night, Night at Neyland

The freshman picnic begins at 6:00 p.m. in Circle Park. At about 7:30 p.m., students will walk together to Ayres Hall lawn for Torch Night, an eighty-eight-year-old tradition where upperclassmen symbolically pass down the Torch of Preparation to the new freshmen.

The class of 2017 will be the first students in decades to participate in this university tradition on Ayres Hall Lawn on the Hill. It has been held at Thompson Boling Arena in recent years.

Following the ceremony, freshmen head to Neyland Stadium, to practice Volunteer cheers, sing Rocky Top accompanied by the Pride of the Southland Marching Band and also hear from coaches and student athletes.

  • Monday, August 19—”Life of the Mind” Speaker

All freshmen were asked to read Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet by Bill McKibben over the summer. They will discuss the book with their peers and then get to hear from the author at 5:30 p.m. Monday in Thompson-Boling Arena.

  • Tuesday, August 20—RecFest and Beyond the Borders

At RecFest, from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m., students can learn about—and try—one of the many recreational activities offered on campus, including intramural and club sports, aquatics, group fitness sessions, personal training, outdoor programs, and the climbing wall. Then, from 8:00 to 11:00 p.m., students are invited to “get global” at the Beyond the Borders dance party at the International House.

  • Wednesday, August 21—VOLFest and Regal Entertainment Group’s Orange & White Movie Night

At VOLFest, students will find food, games, giveaways, and booths with information about UT Police, RecSports, athletics, the Office of Sustainability, and more. The event takes place from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. in Presidential Courtyard. Then, starting at 8:30 p.m., students can watch an outdoor movie from Regal Entertainment Group at Lindsey Nelson Baseball Stadium. The Avengers was chosen as the movie by the Class of 2017 during the summer.

  • Thursday, August 22—SophoMORE Fest

The first SophoMORE Fest is a special event where second-year students can enjoy pizza and learn about internships, practicum experiences, graduate school preparation, national scholarships, undergraduate research, student leadership, and other opportunities. The event runs from noon to 2:00 p.m. in the University Center Crest Room.

  • Friday, August 23—Student InVOLvement Fair

More than 200 student organizations will set up information booths on the Pedestrian Walkway. The event runs from 7:00 to 11:00 p.m. Students are also invited to attend a Super Art Fight in the nearby Humanities Amphitheatre at 7:00 p.m. and then stay for Vol Night Long, a party with music, inflatables, and food that runs from 10:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m.

For a full list of activities, visit the Welcome Week website.

C O N T A C T :

Rebekah Winkler (865-974-8304,

Katherine Saxon (865-974-8365,