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Facilities Services is Now Accepting Submissions for the 4th Round of Volunteer First Impressions Improvements

Facilities Services Announces 4th Annual Volunteer First Impressions Contest
Last year, Facilities Services received more than 50 submissions for its third annual
Volunteer First Impressions contest. Twelve public spaces were chosen for sprucing
up across campus, and now that those projects are wrapping up, the UT Facilities
Services Department is happily accepting submissions for the fourth round of
campus improvements!

In previous years, winning submissions were limited to $10,000 in scope, but new for
2022, the selection committee may accept submissions up to $20,000 in scope. As
such, the committee invites you to dream big!

“Our desire in Facilities Services is to create an exceptional environment for our
campus community. The Volunteer First Impressions contest helps to make this a
reality as we brighten and improve a few modest, but important areas of campus.
Our hope is that these upgrades provide spaces to learn and collaborate in an
inspiring environment,” 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 Supervisor. “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

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.

Last year’s contest entries were limited due to COVID-19 and the distance of those
who were working and learning from home. Now that most have returned to campus,
this contest provides an opportunity for our students, faculty and staff to revisit
these spaces with fresh eyes and new ideas. 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 $20,000 or less to complete. The contest will
cap at a total of $100,000 in awards. 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 2022,” said Bryan Lord, Assistant Director of Construction.

Anyone can submit an entry for the contest, and past submissions will be considered
upon resubmission.

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, April 11, 2022. One winner will be announced
each week day May 2 through 13, 2022.

More information about the contest can be found at