The spring version of Homecoming Week is returning to the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
I Love UTC Week, a spring semester tradition since 2013, will take place on campus Monday through Saturday, March 20-25.
Blue and gold are the colors of the week, and cult classic I Love UTC Week buttons will be available daily in the UTC Library. Multiple downtown Chattanooga buildings will shine blue and gold lights to showcase their I Love UTC Week spirit.
“It’s post-spring break; hopefully, folks will be rested and ready to reengage,” said Laura Cagle, director of stewardship and donor events in the Division of Advancement and the coordinator of I Love UTC Week. “I’m really grateful to have a campus full of collaborators willing to say yes, step up to the plate and offer programs for our folks.”
A two-time alum (2011 and 2013), Cagle has worked for UTC since 2013—including an eight-year stint as director of University Events. She was on the inaugural committee when I Love UTC Week was created.
“It’s become a passion project of mine,” she said. “I think we do a great job with homecoming in the fall semester to honor campus legacy and tradition, but there’s not really the opportunity in the spring. I bill I Love UTC Week as a mini homecoming.
“It’s a good opportunity to engage—not just our students and faculty and staff, but also alums and friends of the University—to share what a difference-maker UTC was in their lives and what UTC does for the community.”
More than a dozen events are on the I Love UTC Week calendar, including:
- Monday (March 20): Make Your Own Bouquet, Lupton Hall Room 120, 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m.
- Monday (March 20): I Love UTC Week Yard Party, Chamberlain Field, noon-2 p.m.
- Wednesday (March 22): Spring Job and Internship Fair, University Center Tennessee Room, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
- Wednesday (March 22): Club Sports Expo, Chamberlain Field, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.
- Thursday (March 23): Chattanooga Chamber of Commerce and UTC Business After Hours Networking Event, University Center Tennessee Room, 5-7 p.m.
- Friday (March 24): “zooTC” Petting Zoo, Chamberlain Field, noon-3 p.m.
- Saturday (March 25): Family Game Night, University Center Tennessee Room, 6-8 p.m.
A new event on the docket is the zooTC mobile petting zoo, which will bring various animals from Bagby’s Critter Corral to Chamberlain Field—including a highland cow, two donkeys, a sheep and her lamb, an alpaca and rabbits and goats of varied colors.
The animal affair is a collaboration of the UTC Library, the Center for Women and Gender Equity and the Office of Student and Family Engagement.
“It takes a village to bring a farm to campus,” joked Chantelle Swaren, assessment and outreach librarian for the UTC Library.
Swaren said the Library has hosted therapy dog visits for years, “and we regularly hear from students who attend those events that they appreciate having animals on campus. That’s been a common refrain since we started offering those stress-relief animal visits. Students have long enquired whether any other types of animals could visit, too.”
After learning about the critter corral at a neighborhood event, Swaren jumped at the opportunity to introduce the mobile petting zoo to students, faculty and staff.
“I talked with campus partners from the Center for Women and Gender Equity, who also regularly host therapy dog visits, and the Office of Student and Family Engagement, who have hosted Goat Yoga, about collaborating to bring them to UTC,” Swaren said. “With help from many people and departments around campus, we’ve made it work.
“I Love UTC Week is such a fun celebration of our campus. This petting zoo will be a great way to head into the weekend in an adorable fashion.”
The week’s calendar also includes the annual, by-invitation Scholarship Recognition Event hosted by the Division of Advancement on Friday, March 24. The event brings scholarship benefactors and student beneficiaries together to honor the generosity of donors and celebrate students’ academic achievement as scholarship recipients.
A Scrappy’s Cupboard Food Drive will take place throughout the week. Donation bins will be in the Library, University Center, Administrative Services Building, Lupton Hall and the Main Housing Office in Pfeiffer Hall. Financial donations will be accepted online through the UC Foundation.
I Love UTC Week sponsors include Advancement, Alumni Affairs, Chancellor’s Office, Campus Recreation, Center for Career and Leadership Development, Center for Women and Gender Equity, Dining Services, English Department, Music Therapy, Parent and Family Association, Student and Family Engagement, Student Outreach and Support, UTC Library, George C. Connor Professorship of American Literature, SunTrust Chair of Excellence in the Humanities, Connor Society and the Chattanooga Chamber of Commerce.