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UT students living on campus and University Housing staff will host Grand Illumination on November 19 to celebrate the gift of reading with area youngsters.

Professional staff, resident assistants, and various residence hall associations are collaborating on the annual event which centers on giving back and giving thanks during the holiday season.

Grand Illumination will take place from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. in Presidential Courtyard. The event is free and open to all children and their families from the community.

Attendees can enjoy holiday treats, create personalized books, and participate in storytelling time. UT’s American Nuclear Society will also be at the event to help make snow for children to play with.

Along with their personalized book, each child will be given a book to take home at the end of the event. These books were donated by students, faculty, and staff during a book drive that began in early November.

“We have chosen literacy as our focus for the event this year because it is a cause near and dear to both the state of Tennessee and our students here at UT. We hope that this event will welcome children from all around Knoxville to enjoy an evening of fun, to remember to give back and give thanks, and to use one’s imagination from an early age,” said Kristen Krapfl, hall director of Humes Residence Hall.

Each student resident who donated a book or money during the book drive received an orange battery-operated candle to place in their residence hall room window on the evening of the event. The hope is to “illuminate” Presidential Courtyard with giving and thanks for all who attend the event to see.

“This event embodies the spirit of giving back to the Knoxville community, from the book drive to the evening of storytelling and crafting. It also encourages UT students to positively guide and influence the next generation,” Krapfl said.

Books are still being accepted for the event. New or gently used children’s and teen books can be dropped off before 3:00 p.m. Wednesday, November 19, at donation boxes in the Morrill, North Carrick, South Carrick, Reese, Humes, and Fred D. Brown Jr. Residence Halls.

For more information about University Housing, visit their website.


Katherine Saxon (865-306-2298,