In lieu of a traditional Homecoming, the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, will be hosting Spirit Week, a week dedicated to reminding students and alumni of UT’s unique traditions. The celebration takes place October 11–17, ending with the Volunteers taking on the Kentucky Wildcats at Neyland Stadium.
“Spirit Week is a reframed version of Homecoming to fit with the current times while still promoting the Volunteer spirit and Big Orange pride,” said Homecoming committee chair Meghan Woodward, coordinator in the Center for Student Engagement. “Although this year will be different with program offerings, we wanted to host a week that would still bring that same excitement to campus. Our hope is that this week will bring the campus closer together to celebrate as Volunteers.”
Woodward stressed that Spirit Week isn’t completely replacing Homecoming. Elements have been changed to allow students to safely participate, with the hope that next year’s celebration can include more traditional Homecoming events such as the parade and game day activities.
Each day of the week has its own theme:
- Monday, October 12: Campus Pride Day
- Tuesday, October 13: Power T Tuesday
- Wednesday, October 14: Mascot Appreciation Day
- Thursday, October 15: #ThrowbackThursday
- Friday, October 16: Big Orange Friday
In addition to the football game at the end of the week, students can participate in events including Spirit Week Kickoff, Big Orange Pumpkin Patch, Spooky Trick or Treating, and a virtual escape room, among other activities. A full lineup of events is available on the Homecoming website and on the UT events calendar.
Alumni are encouraged to take part in the week by participating in each day’s theme through social media or in their local communities. The Office of Alumni Affairs is hosting Little Vols Pumpkin Carving, a virtual event in which families can carve Vol-themed pumpkins at home using stencils prepared by students from the College of Architecture and Design. The live virtual event starts at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, October 13, and features two 30-minute sessions for children in two age groups.
More than 900 alumni have also signed up to Run for Rocky Top, running a distance of their choice in any location to support scholarships for UT students.
“As a UT alumna, Homecoming was something that I looked forward to every year as a student and still do today,” said Woodward. “We have amazing campus partners and organizations that feel the same and did not want to see this traditional week be canceled. We owed it to our students to do everything we could to host this week even if it meant changing how we do things. There is something for everyone during this week, from in-person events to virtual offerings, and we hope students will come out and be engaged with us!”
All events are held in accordance with health and safety guidelines. Spirit Week is made possible through a collaboration between the Center for Student Engagement, the Office of Multicultural Student Life, UT Athletics, International House, Alumni Affairs, All Campus Events, Student Government Association, and the Campus Events Board.
Maddie Stephens (865-974-3993, firstname.lastname@example.org)