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Students on campus enjoy virtual Trivia Night.

With the fall semester fast approaching, the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, is preparing to welcome students back to campus with a weeklong mix of virtual and socially-distanced in-person events.

Prior to the first day of classes on August 19, first-year students can take advantage of unique experiences to get acclimated to Rocky Top.

Big Orange Welcome

Every first-year student will participate in Big Orange Welcome the day after they move in. This half-day program features sessions and workshops led by Dean of Students and Assistant Vice Chancellor for Student Life Shea Kidd-Houze and Vice Provost for Student Success Amber Williams. Students can sign up for a morning session from 10 a.m. to noon or an afternoon session from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. between August 10-16 on the Volunteer Life App. Students can also attend virtually. During these sessions, students will learn about their Vol Success Teams and explore what it means to be a Volunteer.

In a new initiative this fall, each incoming first-year and transfer student will have a Vol Success Team consisting of an academic advisor, an academic coach, and a team member from One Stop Student Services. Students will work with their team to create an academic plan that aligns with their strengths, goals, and dreams. Vol Success Teams will also walk students through important elements and tools including the university’s learning management system, Canvas, and its individualized portal, MyUTK, as well as share different ways to best succeed in online and hybrid classes

Welcome Week

Welcome Week 2020 officially kicks off August 16 and will continue through August 23. Incoming students can participate in a series of engaging and socially-distanced activities including identity-based socials, academic college welcome events, diversity and inclusion programming, self-guided campus tours, and Explore Knoxville opportunities.

With more than 250 events to choose from, Welcome Week gives students a chance to settle into life on Rocky Top and make connections with other students, faculty, and staff. For incoming students, it marks the final phase of orientation, connecting them with resources and other students. Students can find the full schedule and sign up for events on the Volunteer Life App. Welcome Week events are also posted on the UT calendar.

Incoming freshman, Adam Fuller of Farragut, Tennessee, is excited to make the transition to campus. Both of his siblings went to UT, but the start to his first year is already drastically different. “Getting ready to go to college in the middle of a pandemic has taught me how to be more flexible and adapt quickly,” he said. “With everything that’s going on, it’s really cool that we still get to participate in events like this and have a college experience.”

“This year, we have extended Welcome Week to safely provide even more programming and opportunities for students to get acclimated to our new campus environment before and after classes start,” said Carrie Worley, assistant director of new student orientation. “This year has been challenging for students and we want them to feel welcomed and excited but also safe to be back on campus with us.”

To learn more about Welcome Week and the university’s orientation program, the New V.O.L. Experience, visit the Orientation website.


Maddie Stephens (865-974-3993,