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UT’s digital content is a treasure trove of the greatest memories of 2018. In video, on social media, and through special web features, these stories and snapshots of life on Rocky Top entertained, educated, and engaged our campus community.

Here are a few of our favorite digital stories from 2018:

¡Vamos al Museo! (January): The results of this Volunteer Story are inspiring. The ¡Vamos al Museo! program at the McClung Museum offers shared learning experiences for native Spanish speakers and promotes the museum as an accessible and welcoming space. This fall, the museum announced it will expand ¡Vamos al Museo! thanks to an anonymous donation. A PhD student became involved with the program after reading the Volunteer Story on the UT website and calling the museum.

 


Stacks of Moon Pie cookies.

Sweet Success (February): As Southern traditions go, having a MoonPie with an RC Cola is right up there with biscuits and gravy or football on Saturdays. In one of the most-viewed Torchbearer stories this year, Patrick Wells (’14) talks about how he helped launch MoonPie into the national spotlight with his viral work on the brand’s social media.

 


In October 1990, a gas explosion blew the statue off its base and broke off the hand holding the torch.
In October 1990, a gas explosion blew the statue off its base and broke off the hand holding the torch.

Lighting the Way (April): Here’s the challenge: Can a story about a statue be engaging? When it’s about the Torchbearer, the answer turns out to be a resounding yes. People are averaging more than four minutes—a century in online time—on this story, thanks to historic photos, custom graphics, and a little-known story from our campus history.

 


Meet Diedria Tankersley (May): Deidria Tankersley grew up dreaming about being a member of UT’s Pride of the Southland Band. It took her longer than expected, and breast cancer threatened to derail her journey, but Tankersley marched on. After three seasons with the Pride of the Southland—including being a member of the drum line and serving as a high-level student leader—she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in music.

 


Instagram post screen grab of Rock proposal

True Love on the Rock (July): Vols Braden Smith and Ashley Willoughby got engaged in true Rocky Top fashion. He proposed on the Rock! Our Facebook post reached more than 245,500 views, and our Instagram post had nearly 168,000 impressions.

 


Facebook screen grab on band playing Rocky Top

Have Some Rocky Top! (August): The Pride of the Southland Band kicked off the fall 2018 semester with a rehearsal march to Neyland Stadium. Our video had a reach of more than 1.6 million on Facebook and more than 190,000 impressions on Twitter.

 


Class of 2022 photo

Hey there, Class of 2022! (August): The Class of 2022 formed a giant Power T for their class photo during Welcome Week in August. Our photo had a reach of more than 300,000 on Facebook, nearly 130,000 impressions on Twitter, and more than 48,000 impressions on Instagram.

 


National Dog Day Tweet

Every Dog Has His Day (August): Who wouldn’t want to wish Smokey a happy #NationalDogDay? Our most successful tweet of 2018, this had more than 214,000 impressions.

 


Students read in the reserve books room at Hoskins Library.
Students read in the reserve books room at Hoskins Library.

Living History (September): For the second time this year, people are averaging more than four minutes on a UT website story. This one, led by Distinguished Alumnus award winner Jack Neely, takes readers on a tour of some of UT’s most engaging history in words and historic pictures. Neely says he tries to show how Knoxville and UT history has influenced our lives today. “History is a big part of what makes people care for a place, come back to it, keep it going, and send their kids there.”

 


To Be a Vol (September): Every year, millions of television viewers are reached through our institutional PSA—a video piece that is broadcast during air time of UT sports events. This season’s video features students who embody what it means “To Be a Vol”—working hard to light the way for other people.

 


Vol for Life (September): In 1996, Darwin Walker (’99) was a 19-year-old North Carolina State University student trying to decide where to go to continue his college football career, and he knew exactly what he wanted. “I wanted the opportunity to play for the best possible program and also go to the best possible engineering school,” Walker said. “I wanted a school that had both.” His decision to transfer to UT set Walker on a path to two very successful careers and to achieving his goals twice over.