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Now Accepting 2020 Volunteer First Impressions Submissions!

Facilities Services Announces Second Annual Volunteer First Impressions Contest
Last year, Facilities Services received more than 100 submissions for its inaugural Volunteer First Impressions contest. Twelve public spaces were chosen for sprucing up across campus, and now that those projects are finished, the UT Facilities Services Department is accepting submissions for the second round of improvements.

“Facilities Services is here to create an exceptional physical environment for our campus community. It was great to see the contest be an avenue to brighten and improve a few modest but important areas of campus for that campus community,” said Ted Murphy, Facilities Services campus landscape architect.

While the campus has invested tremendously in new projects in recent years, most of the campus community operates in existing spaces. Facilities Services recognizes that there are areas of campus that could use some attention, and the contest is a way to shine a spotlight on some of those areas.

“The Volunteer First Impressions Contest brings public areas that need upgrades to our attention and provides a way to make these renovations,” said Emily Lingerfelt, Facilities Services construction project coordinator. “As we have seen in past submissions, there is no shortage of need. Many small improvements will make a big impact over time, and I am excited to see how this work will improve campus as it continues.”

To enter, you can do one of the following:

– Take two to five pictures of the area and submit a written statement on how fixing up this area will enhance campus life

– Send a quick video (limited to two minutes) taken on your smartphone to show Facilities Services the area involved and explain how this project will enhance campus life

– Submit a written statement to Sam Ledford at detailing the proposed project

The Volunteer First Impressions contest is for campus projects only. Projects typically include one or more of the following: carpet, paint, plants or landscaping, signage, or similar elements.

Entries will be judged on their overall impact to the campus community and estimated completion cost of $10,000 or less. Ten winners will be chosen. Entries should be for public spaces only; private areas or offices will not be considered. Entries should demonstrate the area’s impact on students, faculty, staff, or visitors when they first arrive on campus.


“I really enjoyed working on the contest last year. The imaginative submissions by our students, faculty, and staff were remarkable. We had submissions that were funny, sincere, and well thought out; some were all three. I cannot wait to see what our Vols will come up with this year. I am honored to be working on this again in 2020,” said Bryan Lord, assistant director of construction.

Submit your entries to Sam Jones Ledford at, the Facilities Services Twitter account (@utkfacserv), or the Facilities Services Instagram account (@utfacilities).

Entries are due no later than Friday, January 31, 2020. One winner will be announced each weekday March 2 through 13, 2020. For more information, visit