With a new class of students on campus, clubs and organizations set up tables to grab as many new members as possible outside the TRECS center Tuesday evening. This was part of Welcome Week, another way of trying to assimilate new students into the university.
Hannah Ellis, freshman double-majoring in journalism electronic media and theatre, has enjoyed her time at UT so far. "It's been nonstop fun. Everyone has been so welcoming and there has always been something to do," she said.
When asked if any of the Welcome Week events stood out, she said the 'Night in Neyland' event was incredible. "I love Neyland Stadium. We got to run through the 'T' and the band played, so I got a good sense of the strong school spirit here," Ellis said.
Ryan Wagner, freshman in computer science, said he has enjoyed his introduction to campus. "The past few days have been great! I've had a lot of fun playing sports on the intramural field and racquetball. I also did Big Day Out, and we got to go rafting on the Ocoee River," Wagner said.
Almost every sport imaginable, and a variety of other hobbies, has a club that serves as an opportunity for beginning students to make new friends with common interests.
One club that always has several new members is the wakeboarding club. Its president, Cody Beyer, junior in theater with a business minor, said the turnout is usually pretty strong. "One reason kids are drawn to the club is the rail-jam and jump in the pool, which pulls wake boarders across the water so they can get up on the board and actually do a trick," Beyer said.
Another club that is quite popular is the tennis club. Shelley Knight, sophomore in accounting and vice president of the tennis club, thinks this might be one of their biggest years, saying, "Right now we've got so many people already signed up, and we have a lot of people who are returning, too." Ryan Passmore, one of those returning members and a senior in kinesiology, understands why the club is so popular.
"I think it's one of the sports that a lot people can go out and play without much experience," Passmore said, "and it's a good sport to get outside and stay active."
One club that is lesser known is the fencing club. Riki Higgins, junior in special education and fencing club member, said the turnout for fencing has been good, better than expected. "A lot of people don't know about fencing and think they can't do it because it looks difficult, but really anybody can fence," Higgins said.
Carrie Trexler, the Sports Clubs & Marketing Coordinator for TRECS, helped set up the event. "Obviously they are excited just to be here and looking forward to representing the university, meeting people, making new friends, and checking out their dorms," Trexler said. "I'm excited to see what the class of 2016 can do."