The University of Tennessee’s systemwide “Everywhere You Look, UT” campaign seeks to raise awareness of a simple fact — it is impossible to find any place in the state of Tennessee that has not been impacted by UT.
The wide-ranging campaign functions on many levels. Its centerpiece is a mural project which has placed a mural with the name of the campaign in highly visible locations along roadways, waterways and in town centers of 21 counties across the state since launching in 2018.
Several mural artists have lent their talent to the campaign in hopes that there will be a mural in each of the state’s 95 counties by 2030. The campaign encourages anyone from a county that does not already have an “Everywhere You Look, UT” mural to submit an idea for a new mural location.
If the barn, water tower, building facade, grain bin or any other canvas fits the bill, the university will cover all of the associated costs. UT Director of Marketing Ellie Amador Dougherty said the campaign fields many of these requests.
“Inquiries come in every week from alumni, fans and friends of the university who are interested in bringing a mural to their hometowns,” Amador Dougherty said. “From farmers to lawyers to mayors to police chiefs — pride and passion for UT abounds. Brenda Speer from Lynnville hopes the 58-foot-wide UT emblem atop her barn can be seen from space. She wants the astronauts to see it and for everyone to know UT fans live there.”
In addition to bringing awareness to the ways that UT has educated Tennesseans and improved quality of life in the state, the campaign also seeks to spread the message that an affordable education is available to all residents of the state.
“A universal hope among all of our partners is that their murals encourage more people to attend UT and to understand that an affordable, quality education is within their reach and can change their lives for the better,” Amador Dougherty said. “If someone is encouraged by one of the murals to apply to UT or to learn more about UT’s impact upon the state, we’ll have accomplished our goal.”
The campaign also includes an interactive map of UT campuses, institutes and extensions across the state, as well as stories that highlight the impact of the university from dental care to sustainability to entrepreneurship programs.
In Aug. 2021, the campaign announced that UT President Randy Boyd would begin a statewide tour to engage with communities and connect them to the university.
“The ‘Everywhere You Look, UT’ tour will stretch to more than 50 counties, from Mountain City to Memphis, and highlight the important role our campuses and institutes play across Tennessee,” Boyd said. “From education to health care to economic development and everything in between, everywhere you look, we are making a sizable impact in the communities we serve.”
The tour comes at a time when conflicts between students, administration and state officials concerning issues from social justice to the COVID-19 pandemic have threatened UT’s reputation across much of the state.
Boyd, a businessman and past candidate for Governor of Tennessee, was scheduled to host a campaign event in Knox County later this week, though the event was postponed. A full tour schedule and highlights from past tour stops can be found on the campaign website.