In its inaugural run, the first ever Smokey's Playhouse went off without a hitch.
On Thursday, Student Government Association helped kick off the new school year by hosting the event, which featured inflatables as well as free cotton candy and popcorn and was designed to introduce new Volunteers to their student representatives as well as encourage the freshmen to get involved on campus.
"This is kind of a new tradition, SGA always tries to do something during Welcome Week, (and) have a presence," SGA President Jake Baker, senior in political science, said. "Smokey's Playhouse, we're kind of bringing it back, we've done a few things like this in the past, but nothing at this level."
SGA Vice-President Paige Atchley, senior in marketing, said she wants students to know exactly what campus, and specifically student government, can offer them.
"We just kind of wanted to make ourselves known to the freshmen," Atchley said. "We wanted to do some recruiting and let them know what SGA is, and how to get involved if they're interested."
Recruiting and connecting with other Vols was a consistent theme as organizers noted the need for interested and passionate individuals to get involved with student government due to its direct link between students and the school's administrators.
"The biggest thing the next few weeks is the application drive; so we want to let as many students know about joining SGA as possible," Student Services Director Grant Davis, senior in biosystems engineering, said. "In order to have a good year in SGA, we need good people, and the only way to get those good people is for them to apply."
A second, dual role is for the leaders of student government to listen and hear the concerns of students, but also for others to see the importance of SGA and what it can offer.
Sen. Rob Graham, junior in finance, offered a varying perspective on the impact SGA can have on the student body.
"The whole of SGA is like a dollar bill in your pocket," Graham said. "That dollar bill only has worth because you believe it has worth. The whole of SGA and the student body works together as we believe what the students are saying ... needs to be passed on and listened to, and we hope the student body believes in the action we're taking."
Involvement, regardless of the organization, was the sole message pushed by Davis and members of the event.
"If you don't want to be involved with SGA, that's perfectly fine, go find a home (somewhere)" Davis said. "Statistics show that students that are involved on campus in some aspect are going to graduate on time ... Just get involved, that's what I'm going to say."