Welcome Week is an annual UT Knoxville tradition and move-in program where incoming and returning students are greeted with a Big Orange Welcome when returning to campus for the fall semester! This year students connected in person and virtually to the Herbert College of Agriculture in a variety of ways that were innovative and intentional.
Preparing for this eminent welcome was no easy feat. Herbert student life coordinator Sharon Couch pulled together all eight departments and formed a committee to brainstorm the different ways to host a memorable event that would be inclusive and accessible to all students in response to the new event guidelines set by UT Knoxville. The newly formed Herbert Welcome Committee was successful in tackling this daunting task and in response created an unforgettable program of events for all students.
With inclusivity as the goal, Herbert decided to take a hybrid approach to this traditionally in-person event. All students were invited to departmental virtual drop-in parties where they were welcomed by the Herbert Dean’s Office, faculty, and staff. Connecting to students virtually came with its own set of challenges but ultimately provided a platform for intentional conversations and accessibility to attend from a safe distance.
The Herbert Welcome Committee implemented another layer in their campaign that included a limited-edition Hebert College of Agriculture T-shirt. These T-shirts were given to each student to solidify their sense of belonging in the Herbert College of Agriculture. But the gifts did not stop there! Students also received a number of housewarming gifts upon their arrival and return to their Herbert Home. More than 1,000 branded water bottles, school pendants, and stickers were distributed to all our students.
In addition to these virtual events, Herbert engaged students in self-guided tours of the agricultural campus via participation in an asynchronous scavenger hunt known as the “Vol Agventure” search. The numerous checkpoints within the scavenger hunt took competitors on a challenging and informational adventure from corner to corner of the agricultural campus.
Truly nothing can describe the energy our students radiate across our Herbert community. We look forward to hosting more programs in the future to engage our students no matter where they are.