VOLT bids farewell to seniors, spring semester

On the final Monday evening before exams, a cappella group VOLT hosted its spring concert in Alumni Memorial Building.

The co-ed a cappella group debuted in 2015. Though relatively new to UT, the group does not shy away from any challenge, performing a wide variety of songs. “Mi Gente” originally performed by J Balvin and Willy William became an early crowd favorite.

Spencer Morrell, a current VOLT member, weighed in on his favorite piece from the evening.

“I’d have to say my favorite song that we performed at this concert was ‘Moonlight’ by Ariana Grande which we mashed up with ‘Moonlight Sonata’ by Ludwig van Beethoven,” Morrell said. “The song has beautiful jazz beats and the sonata meshes incredibly well with the pop song. It’s fun to perform and our soloist, Allison, does an incredible job.”

Morell sings bass in the group. However, joining VOLT never occurred to him until a previous member on Pedestrian Walkway asked him about his singing background. “The rest is history” he said.

Morrell, a history major, represents the diverse backgrounds of VOLT. The group, coming from various academic departments, looks to be active across campus. Recently, the Imagine campaign for SGA invited them to perform in Presidential Court.

Like the singers’ backgrounds, their sound encompasses a mix of sounds and genres. While the concert proved lively, bittersweet feelings permeated the end as the members bid farewell to graduating seniors. In the final song, VOLT alumni joined members on stage to perform their swan song, “(Sittin’ on) The Dock of the Bay.”

VOLT plans to keep growing and will return in the fall.

Written by Lauren Claxton

Featured Image courtesy of VOLT on Facebook

Design by Sarah Smith



‘I Heart UT’ week celebrates service

Classes ended at the University of Tennessee this week with plenty of celebration.

The alumni office and Student Alumni Associates (SAA) hosted “I Heart UT” week from April 23 to April 27. According to the UT alumni website, the week “[educates] students about the importance of volunteerism and philanthropy.”

The week started out with donuts, free food and gifts provided by SAA members. Students also participated in a “Cash Cab” game.

Tuesday, everyone walking down Pedestrian Walkway could grab a fanny pack, hot dogs and snow cones. Tuesday also marked a day of service. Students volunteered their time to serve at the UT Gardens. The day ended with the Multicultural Graduation Celebration in Cox Auditorium.

Wednesday brought an opportunity for students to write five thank you notes to UT donors in exchange for an “I Heart UT” tank top. Students recognized professors by writing notes Thursday afternoon.

The final two days offered students a wide range of free food options. Students ate food from Moe’s at the Philanthro-PARTY, breakfast for dinner at the Chancellor’s Pancake Supper and free lunch to celebrate the last day of classes.

Chancellor Davenport served pancakes in Hodges library Thursday night.

“We wanted to fill you up so you could study for finals. Good luck to you all,” Davenport said in a tweet.

UT students celebrate the last day of classes with Volapalooza Friday night. Volapalooza is a free concert series for opted-in students and the biggest “I Heart UT” event. Artists include headliner Juicy J, Zella Day and more. The event, usually held in World’s Fair Park, moved to Thompson-Boling following several days of rain.

BlackBear originally planned to headline the concerts but cancelled due to a medical emergency.

Students get back to business when final exams begin Tuesday, May 1.




Honors students safari through Zoo Knoxville

The Honors and Scholars Program took a walk on the wild side to earn honors seminar credit. The program ventured on a night safari at Zoo Knoxville on April 26 to learn about the animals and observe their behaviors at dusk.

Students entered the zoo as a private group for up-close encounters with the wildlife.

“Being able to be in the zoo without anyone else and getting a tour is absolutely amazing,” Emily Joyner, a 1794 scholar, said. “Even if it did not count as a seminar, I think a lot of people would still be here because it is such a cool experience.”

Nocturnal animal studies accompanied inspection of bio-artifacts. Students examined an owl skull, snake skin, bird feathers, a skunk pellet, a black bear pellet, a giraffe jaw, a mountain lion skull and a lion paw.

Zoo Knox.JPG

The night jolted back to life when students interacted with live animals. Attendees petted an African Pygmy hedgehog named Owen Quilson, a snake named Jake and two Madagascar hissing cockroaches. This hands-on experience gave students a behind-the-scenes look at the care and maintenance of zoo animals.


Students later made a night trek through the zoo, listening to other animals, including the tigers, rustling about. Following the guided tour, students asked questions to gain information, including how to own a hedgehog in Knoxville.

Zoo Knoxville offers many educational and group opportunities. Night safaris typically last between 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. and require advance registration. Bedtime with the Beasts allows guests to “meet an animal ambassador and have a light snack before curling up for the night” at the Zoo.

Student talent, art reveals passions

UPerk, the coffee shop located at the UKirk House, showcased a wide range of student artwork April 24. As students toured the full room, UT student Alayna Cameron took the stage with a ukulele in hand.

Cameron’s setlist included a personal touch. She played songs of Tennessee natives as attendees toured the gallery.


Students Caleb Pittenger, Caroline Rowcliffe, Maggie Stroud and Emma Vieser presented some of their favorite pieces as Cameron played. Their artwork represented different mediums – from wood to photography.

At the end of the evening, some of the artists walked away with fewer pieces than they brought, selling several pieces of art. Maggie Stroud, one of the contributing artists, elaborated on one of her favorite works.

“This was just a simple line drawing I did, but it’s very much based on my hometown of San Antonio, Texas and the aesthetic that is so unique to Tejano culture,” Stroud said. “In the springtime, we celebrate Fiesta, and everywhere you look there are dancers with ‘halo’ flower crowns and traditional Mexican dresses. It’s so gorgeous and it reminds me of home.”

Stroud is not new to the art scene. Although she majors in English Literature, art has always had a place in her heart. Her upbringing keeps her interested in creating.

“I’ve always been drawing obsessively. My family is very creative, and my mom is an artist herself, so I grew up watching her,” she said. “But, I think more than anything, it was my love of stories. Illustration is just visual storytelling, and even before I could read, that was something I understood.”

Caleb Pittenger told his stories through spoken word. He recited poetry recently featured in UT’s Phoenix magazine.


Through different creative mediums, students displayed their passions and character.


Written by Lauren Claxton

Photos by Lauren Claxton


Knoxville lantern festival prepares to dim

Dragon Lights, the first ever Chinese lantern festival in Knoxville, comes to a close in Chilhowee Park this weekend. The festival, which began March 16, ends April 22. The final festival day starts at 5:30 p.m. and ends at 10 p.m.

“It’s a great way for us to learn about another culture. In this case, the Chinese culture,” James Hopkins said. “The lights are beautiful, and we love it.”


The Dragon Lights festival fills the park with traditional lights such as the Chinese zodiac animals, Chinese opera characters, jellyfish and more. The gigantic red dragon proves the most eye-catching in the middle of the park. The dragon stretches about 70 feet long and 20 feet high.


Dragon Lights festival features food trucks and showcases performers like plate spinners at 6:30 p.m. and at 8 p.m.

Chinese artisans created each lantern by hand. Lanterns are best viewed after sunset, around 8:13 p.m. for the final day.  Tickets are 16 dollars for adults and 10 dollars for children.


“I’m glad Knoxville has this even for us,” Hopkins said. “We are looking forward to next year’s Dragon Lights festival.”

Photos by Jeff Park

Languages department hosts annual soccer tournament

The sixth annual Modern Foreign Languages and Literaturs soccer tournament kicked off at the Regal Soccer Stadium Wednesday. The Italian club created the event, and a total of nine language programs (French, Italian, Arabic, Portuguese, Chinese, Japanese, Spanish, German and Russian) participated. Each game lasted 20 minutes with five minutes of halftime break.

“It’s much better this year,” Savannah Householder, who represented the Chinese team, said. “There are more people who came to support. The jerseys are much nicer and everyone is more excited.”


The first round featured matchups between the Japanese and the Russians, Spanish and Arabic, German and Portuguese and the reigning French champions and Italian team.

Italian supporters came out in full force; the Italian team had never won the tournament.

After the first round of tournament, the Japanese dance team performed during halftime.

Students organize teams and practice leading up to the tournament. The language programs provide the jerseys.

Students like Jacob Isber enjoy the opportunity to play against other language students.

“It’s bringing a bunch of people together,” Isber, who represented the Arabic team, said. “It’s my first time. We love it. We are having a great time, because it’s like a mini-world cup. It’s pretty sweet.”


However, not everyone remained happy during the tournament. The Chinese versus Spanish matchup included a goal controversy that heated arguments between coaches and referees.

The Spanish fouled a Chinese player four seconds before the end of game, and the Chinese earned a free kick. With an automatic clock, the time never stopped, and the game ended.


The referee kept his own time accounting for extra time, however. The Spanish team became agitated because time expired. The team thought the judge awarded an unfair penalty kick. As no Spanish goalkeeper showed up, the Chinese kicked the ball into the open net and won by 3-2.

The Italian team ultimately swept the tournament, marking its first win.


Featured Images: Jeff Park

Edited by Lexie Little