Even rain could not dampen the spirits of the Volunteer faithful.

In spite of poor weather, more than 200 people attended the "Beat Vandy Bonfire" Friday night at Fiji Island.

The pep rally-like event served as a bonding time for students to enjoy free food and get pumped for Saturday's much-anticipated game against the Vanderbilt Commodores, the final home football game of the season.

"We're trying with athletics and SGA and the university to boost attendance in the student section at football games," Blake Roller, junior in journalism and electronic media, said. "...So doing events like this we hope gets the enthusiasm up."

With pep rallies declining in frequency and attendance, Roller said he hopes to reignite connection to the university.

"It's a Friday night," he said. "You're out here eating with your friends, you're going to have a fire. Standing around a fire is a very bonding thing, whether it be a camp fire or a bonfire, it's just something that you share that common experience with the people around you. And I definitely think that it will bring the students together."

Tennessee head coach Butch Jones also made an appearance, alongside senior offensive lineman Ja'Wuan James and senior linebacker Dontavis Sapp. Jones, James and Sapp came to excite students for Saturday's game.

"Only so many people can be a Tennessee Vol," Jones said. "I look forward to seeing you at the Vol Walk, I look forward to singing 'Rocky Top' with you after the game and we are going to show the entire country that there's only one Tennessee."

Roller said he hopes the bonfire will become a new UT tradition before football home games.

Jake Baker, SGA student body president, agreed.

"I think this event has an impact on students," Baker, a senior in political science, said. "... It really just kind of boosts morale on our campus and when you get people excited about our athletics, they get more excited about our school, and they get more excited about wearing orange and white which is great for the university overall."