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during the Big Orange Block Party with the 2019 freshman class

Before the first day of classes, first-year and transfer students at University of Tennessee, Knoxville, can take advantage of unique opportunities to get acclimated to Rocky Top. All new Vols will be greeted with six weeks of programming to kick off their college experience. Big Orange Welcome—the final phase of orientation for incoming students—begins August 13 and will feature hundreds of events for new students to explore all that UT has to offer.

“UT’s Big Orange Welcome is designed to help new Vols successfully transition academically and socially,” said Amber Williams, vice provost for student success. “In collaboration with the campus community, we’ve designed more than 600 events to help our students build meaningful relationships, connect with campus resources and create positive experiences that foster student engagement.”

Hallmark Big Orange Welcome events include:

  • College Connect—Each academic college will be meeting at various locations across campus so students can interact with faculty and their department before classes start August 18. Download the Vol Life app to find the time and location for each college.
  • Academic Success: You and Your Vol Success Team— New students will meet their Vol Success Team, made up of an academic advisor, an academic coach, and a counselor from One Stop, UT’s hub for registration, payment, and financial aid services. Each student’s Vol Success Team travels with them throughout their journey at UT to help them set and reach their academic, personal, and professional goals. Students can find their specific session time on the Vol Life app.
  • Playfair—On August 15, students can take part in an evening of noncompetitive games, comedy routines, and team-building activities from 9:30 to 11 p.m. at the TRECS fields. The event provides a fun space for students to get moving and make new connections.
  • Success Workshops—Through a series of workshops throughout the fall semester, students will learn about resources and strategies to help them excel in their courses and prepare for their future career. Workshops will cover time management skills, goal-setting tactics, conquering imposter syndrome, and other topics. Students can sign up on Vol Academic Connect.
  • 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. Torch Night will take place August 16 at Neyland Stadium, with opening remarks starting at 9 p.m. Participating students will enter at Gate 21.
  • Vol is a Verb Day—On August 29, UT will host the first Vol is a Verb Day, an event that introduces new student to tools they can use to engage in meaningful conversations with peers while also celebrating each students’ unique story. The day will include a carnival and the Let’s Talk: Vol to Vol program that will bring together students from diverse identities, communities, and social perspectives.

Big Orange Welcome will conclude with Vol Success Week, September 20 through September 25.

Students can find the full Big Orange Welcome schedule and sign up for events on the Volunteer 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.” Some Big Orange Welcome events are required for incoming students.

With campus returning to full capacity and COVID-19 vaccines readily available, the university has updated health and safety guidelines and is encouraging the UT community to make informed decisions about their own health and how to protect themselves. A limited mask requirement will be in effect for classrooms, labs, and required indoor orientation events.

For questions about Big Orange Welcome, contact New Student Orientation at or call 865-974-4546.


Maddie Stephens (865-974-3993,