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Volunteer Information for Game Days

Before you arrive:

Bring a water bottle! Volunteers will be doing a lot of walking! We will have a cooler in order to refill your reusable bottles throughout your service if needed.

Wear comfortable clothing and shoes! Please make sure to wear closed toe shoes to protect your feet. Shifts last for about four hours so dress comfortably for whatever the current forecast is.

Be sun safe! Remember to wear sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses. Make sure to hydrate before the game, it gets hot!

Getting to the recycling warehouse

All volunteers will meet and leave from the Recycling Warehouse that is on campus. The address is 2121 Stephenson Dr, Knoxville,TN 37996. You will park between docks 27-29 at the very end of warehouse, pictured below. Please try and carpool as much as possible because parking will be limited.

Traffic is extremely heavy on game days so factor that in when traveling. Luckily, by meeting at the recycling warehouse we are able to avoid a lot of game day traffic.

Starting your shift

After parking at the recycling warehouse, volunteers will come inside and receive the following items to help with their service:

  • A green Waste Warrior t-shirt so we are easily identifiable in the crowds.
  • A clear see-through backpack to carry water, recycling bags, and other small personal belongings with you. Try to leave as many personal items as possible in your car. (These bags must be returned after your shift has ended)
  • A map of assigned volunteer area
  • Staff and emergency contact information

The first shift of volunteers (6 hours before kick-off to 2 hours before kick-off) will:

Working in pairs, volunteers will walk through the parking lots, stopping at each tailgate location in order to provide fans with a recycling bag. Remember:

  • All plastic bottles and cups, cans and clean cardboard (ex. pizza boxes or twelve-pack boxes) can be recycled by using the provided green recycling bag.
  • Any food covered items (ex. Paper plates) , food waste, and solo cups should be landfilled and placed in trash bagsLandfill bags should only be provided upon request.
  • Tailgaters can fill the bags, tie them, and take them to the designated recycling dumpster (if one is nearby) , or leave them on the ground to be picked up by Sustainability staff and other volunteers once the game has started.

The second shift of volunteers (1 hour before kick-off to 3 hours after kick-off) will:

Participate as a group and walk around the outside of the stadium collecting trash and recyclables. More information can be found on this page.

General Tips

  • This program is integral to our Zero Waste program! Fans expect a recycling bag, so don’t be shy about providing one!
  • Here is a possible script to use:  “Hi, Y’all! I have your recycling bag for all of your cans, plastic bottles and cups, and cardboard. Do you need 1 or 2 bags?”
  • Take pictures of you and the person you are paired with while volunteering! Make sure to tag @sustainableut on instagram.

You and the person you are paired with should make several passes through the same lot; new tailgaters arrive in the lots continuously, so just keep your eyes open for fans that need bags. If you have already provided a bag to a group, feel free to check in with them or skip them.

As a volunteer, you will be representing The University of Tennessee to our community- please display Volunteer Excellence at all times! Consuming alcohol while volunteering is prohibited; volunteers who break this rule will immediately be asked to turn in their supplies and t-shirts and will not receive their credit hours (if applicable). For safety reasons it is best to not accept anything from tailgaters. Please refrain from taking anything left on tables or tailgating areas.

Safety Tips

  • Use the buddy system- pair up with another volunteer and stick with them.
  • Make sure you have a cell phone; staff and emergency contact information will be provided. Because of the noise volume, it is helpful to text staff members with questions!
  • Feel free to take a break! Hydrate frequently and rest as needed.
  • Remember, tailgating involves alcohol for many fans. Should you encounter situations that make you uncomfortable, leave the area immediately! Your safety is our primary concern.
  • Police are situated throughout lots. Should you need assistance, please call 9-1-1 or ask them directly for help. Please report any suspicious activity or safety issues to the emergency number at 865-974-1205.

Ending your shift

Volunteers for the first shift will be collected by their group leader towards the end of the shift. They will make their way back together to the warehouse and be finished two hours before kick off. Meeting locations and times will be established by the group leader prior to your shift.

Volunteers for the second shift will work in a large group and will make their way collectively back to the warehouse. This will happen before the game ends in order to beat the traffic.