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Virtual Torch Night across campus
Virtual Torch Night across campus on August 17, 2020.

The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, will open the spring semester with Big Orange Welcome, featuring six weeks of programming to welcome students back from winter break. Multiple events and initiatives throughout January and February will provide students with the opportunity to engage with the UT community both on campus and virtually.

“UT’s Big Orange Welcome was reimagined as a continuum to ensure first-year students transition through each semester’s first six weeks successfully. Our goal is helping students build meaningful relationships, connect with campus resources, and create positive early experiences that foster student engagement,” said Amber Williams, vice provost for student success. “We are excited to collaborate with the campus community on more than 300 unique events to help our first-year students engage academically and socially.”

New Vols, including first-time first-year and transfer students beginning their first semester this spring, will participate in the New V.O.L. Experience, a program designed to help them acclimate to college life and build relationships with peers and helpful advisors. Upper-division students are also encouraged to participate in events offering unique social activities like campus movie nights, get-to-know-Knoxville excursions, UT basketball games, and community service opportunities.

Students can view the full schedule and sign up for events under the Big Orange Welcome Guidebook on the Vol Life app. After downloading the app, they can log in using their UT NetID and password, then search for Big Orange Welcome under “Find Guides.”

The following are among the featured events:

New Vol Welcome

Hosted for new incoming students, these sessions will welcome new Vols to UT by teaching them Tennessee traditions, connecting them with campus resources, and providing helpful information on beginning their college journey. Both virtual and in-person session options are available.

Winter Torch Night

Since 1925, Torch Night has been a rite of passage for the incoming class of Volunteers. At Torch Night, new Vols learn more about the role they play in the Volunteer community and what they can do to make an impact at UT. Students can participate in person at Circle Park or virtually.

Let’s Talk: Vol to Vol

This virtual event will be a campus-wide intergroup dialogue for incoming first-year students about how to promote respect and understanding for multiple perspectives, stories, backgrounds, and identities in the university community.

Transfer Panel

This panel will feature a Q&A session with current transfer students ready to provide advice and help other transfer students learn how to navigate their new home at UT. Both virtual and in-person session options are available.

Torchbearer Tuesday

New Student Orientation and the Student Government Association will be stationed at the university seal near John C. Hodges Library on Johnson-Ward Pedestrian Walkway each Tuesday to engage students in conversation about what it means to be a Volunteer.

Big Orange Welcome will conclude with Vol Success Week, February 21 through 27. This spring will mark the second installment of the initiative, which launched last fall to celebrate student success and academic achievement.

For questions about Big Orange Welcome, contact New Student Orientation at or call 865-974-4546. Stay connected with the Division of Student Success for more engagement opportunities and Vol success tips this spring.


Maddie Stephens (865-974-3993,