University of Tennessee

Campus Visit Introduces Young Students to College Possibilities

December 18, 2019

The University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s Haslam College of Business, Tickle College of Engineering and Herbert College of Agriculture recently hosted 60 fifth graders from Emmett Elementary School in Bristol, Tennessee, for an interactive day of learning and fun.

“We are thrilled to be here,” said Principal Michele Murray, who was one of several Emmett staff members to accompany the fifth graders. “We’re so excited and thankful for the partnership we have with the University of Tennessee and Haslam.”

Haslam has an established relationship with the elementary school, where a majority of the students are eligible for Title I assistance, a program designed to help children from low-income households reach state academic standards. Previously, representatives from the college have visited Emmett to introduce students to the possibility of college and teach them about entrepreneurship, business basics and college readiness. 

“Our hope has been that by engaging the students in conversations earlier about college, they will start to dream about their opportunities and futures,” said Mark Willoughby, director of student engagement at Haslam, who helped coordinate Emmett’s visit. “We wanted them to see what college might look like, in hopes of starting that conversation with them.” 

The elementary students’ first stop on campus was Haslam, where UT mascot Smokey and members of the Spirit Squad gave them an enthusiastic welcome and posed for pictures. Haslam student leaders took the guests on a tour of the Haslam Business Building, including a stop at the Masters Investment Learning Center. The tour was followed by lunch in the Student Union, during which Stephen L. Mangum, dean of the college, addressed the Emmett students. 

“The University of Tennessee is an exciting place to be,” Mangum told the group. “It’s a great place to dream, imagine and ask lots of questions.” Mangum encouraged the visitors to imagine themselves being University of Tennessee students someday. “Every one of you has the capability,” he said.

The children had many questions for Lane Morris, Haslam’s associate dean of undergraduate studies and student affairs, and the Haslam student leaders, with topics ranging from the courses of study available at the university, to campus housing arrangements and extracurricular activities.

After visiting with the Haslam team, the group departed by bus to spend the afternoon participating in interactive learning activities in Tickle and Herbert. 

At the end of the day, the Emmett students were asked who among them was ready to attend college and be a University of Tennessee Volunteer. The fifth graders, some of whom had never been away from the Bristol area before the visit, all raised their hands, answering, “Me!”