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Facilities Services Announces 3rd Annual Volunteer First Impressions Contest

Last year, Facilities Services received more than 60 submissions for its second annual Volunteer First Impressions contest. Fifteen public spaces were chosen for sprucing up across campus, and now that those projects are finished, the UT Facilities Services Department is happily accepting submissions for the third round of improvements!

“Facilities Services is here to create an exceptional physical environment for our campus community. It was great to see the First Impressions Contest be an avenue to brighten and improve a few modest, but important areas of campus for that campus community,” said Ted Murphy, 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 Manager. “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 at UT Knoxville
– Send a quick video (limited to two minutes) taken on your smart phone to show Facilities Services the area involved and explain how this project will enhance campus life at UT Knoxville.

The Volunteer First Impressions contest is for campus projects only. Projects typically include one or more of the following: carpet, paint, deep cleaning, plants or landscape, signage or other similar items.

While many in our campus community have not physically been on campus as much, this contest provides an opportunity for all to return next semester to an improved environment. Facilities Services encourages all students, staff and faculty to think creatively about the spaces on campus that mean the most to them and how those areas could be made better for everyone.

Entries will be judged on their overall impact to the campus community, ease of delivery, and scope is within the limit of $10,000 or less to complete. Entries should be for public spaces only; private areas or offices will not be considered. Entries should also demonstrate how they impact student, faculty, staff, or visitor first impressions at UT Knoxville.

“I really enjoyed working on the Volunteers First Impression 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 3. I cannot wait to see what our Vols will come up with this year. I am honored to be working on this again in 2021,” said Bryan Lord, Assistant Director of Construction.

Anyone can submit an entry for the contest and 10 winners will be chosen.
Submit your entries to Sam Jones Ledford at, on the Facilities Services Twitter account (@utkfacserv) or on the Facilities Services Instagram account (@utfacilities).

Entries are due no later than Monday, March 8, 2021. One winner will be announced each week day April 5 through 16, 2021.

More information about the contest can be found at