Skip to main content

UT students and alumni will join together this summer to make a difference in their communities across the country.

The Office of Undergraduate Admissions is initiating Volunteering with the Vols, a project that invites newly enrolled students, current students, and alumni to join together in sixteen community service projects in fourteen different locales during July.

“We thought Volunteering with the Vols would be a great way to welcome our newest students to the Big Orange family and also introduce them to the Volunteer tradition of ‘bearing the torch’ of service to make our world a better place,” said Kari Alldredge, associate provost for enrollment management.

Taylor Thomas, coordinator of student affairs for the Office of Undergraduate Admissions, has made the connections to plan each event.

“We’ve networked with agencies across the country—in cities where we have a sizeable Volunteer alumni community—to provide service opportunities that will fill important needs,” he said. “Participants will have fun, enjoy the camaraderie of the UT family, and show the country that, as Volunteers, we take the mission behind our name seriously.”

Volunteering with the Vols kicks off on Saturday, July 9, in Nashville, where the group will be helping to renovate a chicken coop at the BELL Garden, a hands-on community garden where participants learn how to tend vegetable and fruit plants, eat healthier, and care for the environment while also reaping the benefits of physical activity and multicultural interaction. The garden includes six laying chickens in a coop that needs to be enlarged, repaired and fitted with rodent deterrents.

Volunteering with the Vols continues on:

  • July 11 in Orlando, Florida. Volunteers will be serving dinner at Straight Street, a nonprofit urban mission catering to the spiritual, emotional, and physical needs of the city’s poor and homeless. The mission feeds 150 to 300 people a night in a parking lot set up with tables and benches. CANCELLED
  • July 15 in Charlotte, North Carolina. Volunteers will be gardening and planting for Lifespan Services’ special needs resource center. Lifespan Services provides children and adults with disabilities with education, employment, and enrichment opportunities. CANCELLED
  • July 15 in Knoxville. Volunteers will be delivering flowers for Random Acts of Flowers. The organization repurposes flowers left over from other events to provide bouquets to individuals in health care facilities.
  • July 15 in Los Angeles. Volunteers will be stocking the food panty for the Walk in Faith Foundation, which helps “restore the village mentality in inner city communities” by providing support, services, and resources to at-risk youth and their families. CANCELLED
  • July 16 in Houston. Volunteers will be working in the food panty at the Beacon, an organization that provides services to restore dignity, self-respect, and hope to the poor and homeless. CANCELLED
  • July 22 in Atlanta. Volunteers will work with Meals on Wheels to deliver hot meals to homebound seniors.
  • July 22 in Knoxville. Volunteers will be engaging in clean-up efforts with Keep Knoxville Beautiful. The UT group will focus on the campus and the adjacent Fort Sanders neighborhood.
  • July 23 in Atlanta. Volunteers will be working at the Community Food Bank, which collects food and grocery items from manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers, brokers, restaurants, food drives, gardens, and individuals and distributes them to partner agencies that supply them to the needy.
  • July 23 in Memphis. Volunteers will be landscaping an educational forest at New Hope Christian Academy, a K-6 Christian college-prep school in the Frayser community of Memphis.
  • July 25 in Tampa, Florida. Volunteers will be renovating cages at Big Cat Rescue. One of the world’s largest sanctuaries for exotic cats, the rescue is a leading advocate in ending the abuse of captive big cats and saving wild cats from extinction. It is home to about eighty lions, tigers, bobcats, cougars, and servals.
  • July 29 in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Volunteers will be washing vehicles for Orange Grove Center, a nonprofit that serves adults and children with intellectual disabilities.
  • July 30 in Charleston, South Carolina. Volunteers will be helping with marsh cleanup efforts.
  • July 30 in Dallas. Volunteers will be sorting items at the CitySquare Thrift Store. The store is part of a CitySquare, a community development organization that oversees fifteen social service programs addressing the poverty-related issues of hunger, health, housing, and hope.
  • July 30 in Johnson City, Tennessee. Volunteers will be helping to set up the new Habitat for Humanity ReStore.
  • July 30 in Washington, DC. Volunteers will be cleaning, mulching, and doing maintenance for Living Classrooms’ Camp Fraser, a seventy-six-acre wooded area about forty-five minutes from downtown Washington. The camp offers hands-on educational programs, summer camps, and adventure programming.


Taylor Thomas (865-974-1192,

Lauren Goldberg (865-974-0749,