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'An event like no other for a year like no other' | UT students, staff celebrate spirit week on Rocky Top!

All week long, students have participated in several outdoor events and theme days like: Campus Pride Day, Power T Tuesday, Mascot Appreciation Day and more.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — It's Big Orange Friday and Spirit Week on Rocky Top! 

However, because of the pandemic, it's not your traditional homecoming experience at the University of Tennessee. 

"We thought about the kind of energy a homecoming brings. And we wanted that energy on campus. Our students are craving that energy on campus," said UT Associate Dean of Students Lamar Bryant. "The pandemic is real. But our students also want to feel what it's like to be on a college campus and the spirit that's associated with that." 

Homecoming is a big part of the college experience.

So, instead of canceling the fun, UT formed a committee with students and staff to create Spirit Week 2020: "An event like no other for a year like no other." 

All week long, students have participated in several outdoor events and theme days like: Campus Pride Day, Power T Tuesday, Mascot Appreciation Day and #Throwback Thursday.

Students said it's different but they're happy they can still celebrate. 

"It's definitely an adjustment with all of the new safety guidelines we have to follow," said UT senior McKenzie Meadows. "We're socially distancing for every event that we do, so I definitely feel safe doing events in-person. I prefer to be in-person so that I can be around other people." 

The university also held some traditional events like the banner drop and the tower of cans food drive. 

There's also a new event called the "Smokey challenge" on campus. 

UT President Randy Boyd is encouraging students to get moving. 

You have to touch the nose of all ten Smokey statutes on campus. 

He's issuing two challenges: one for speed and one for the shortest route to all ten.

As Spirit Week comes to an end, the Vols are gearing up to take on the Kentucky Wildcats at Neyland Stadium. 

The game starts at noon on the SEC Network.