KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — More than 6,300 new students will be making the University of Tennessee (UT), Knoxville their new home starting this week.
Some are looking forward to getting to know Knoxville better, like Isabella Wade, who is moving to the city from Memphis.
"It just feels like home," she confessed. "And there are so many hills and I love that you can explore and you are never bored. There is always something to do."
Others, like Leah Fortner, want to learn how to live by themselves and become more independent.
"I am looking forward to meeting new people and being able to be on my own and navigate it," she mentioned.
Frank Cuevas, UT's vice chancellor for student life, said the university hired an outside company to help students and families during move-in day. He said it is about making what can be a very stressful experience as smooth as possible.
"I think it is important for the first-year students, for their overall experience and their success here at the university, to live on campus, to have that connection, the opportunity to engage in the true Rocky Top spirit," he explained.
Cuevas said, though, UT recognizes finding off-campus housing in Knoxville can be a challenge, which is why the university leased the Holiday Inn Express on Papermill Drive for this school year.
"I think in the last two years we have seen housing is across the country a huge demand," he said. "Even as you look at here in Knoxville, a demand for off campus housing for not only student housing, but housing in our community. The Holiday Inn provided relief for us to be able to provide another opportunity for students with a place to live."
Cuevas said they will soon start looking for more permanent solutions to this ongoing issue. He mentioned there are two new residence halls in the works and that UT could be looking into leasing other properties in the areas surrounding campus.
For now, however, they are focusing on welcoming the new batch of students, all with different backgrounds and one thing in common: who they are rooting for in college sports.
"Of course, the Vols," Fortner assured.
Move-In Week at UT-Knoxville runs through Tuesday, August 23.