Package Lockers
Newly installed package lockers in the Presidential Court Building on Tuesday, January 14, 2020.

There’s nothing a college student loves more than free stuff. It doesn’t matter how something is considered free — whether it’s from a tabling event, a friend or sent from home. Not spending money is the best feeling in the world.

However, not all free things are created equal. You can only have so many phone wallets and lanyards before they lose their charm. But, there are some things that you can never get sick of.


I’m sure you know from experience, but eating is a favorite pastime for a lot of college-age students. You know your student best. Send them their favorites. However, keep in mind that Knoxville is still hot. Chocolate, gummies and other things prone to melting are better kept for winter.

Besides snacks, nonperishable food items like ramen, mug cakes, granola bars and anything microwavable is always welcome.


More often than not, students focus more on necessities for dorm living and college classes than decorations to make their new home feel welcoming. Some string lights, a small poster, some UT memorabilia or anything you see that makes you think of your child is a great place to start.

Although dorms are small and easily cluttered, feeling comfortable will help your student’s transition into college life go much more smoothly.


While this one is pretty obvious, pocket change never hurts — especially for those living on their own for the first time. Budgeting is hard and a little extra wiggle room for groceries and outings is always nice.

However, if you’re worried about sending cash, gift cards work too. Gift cards to a restaurant or even Starbucks are always welcome for your college student.

Knick knacks

The pressure to be cool and mature in high school is very real for a lot of people, and you have probably seen that in your child. But, college is so different, and there is so much more room to enjoy yourself and the things you like. Include random little toys and knick knacks in your care packages for a fun surprise.

Literally anything works — a mystery toy, a hot wheels, a pack of stickers, a cool button for their backpack. Your student will appreciate and flaunt their new trinket.

Usable goods

Although your student may not immediately jump for joy at the sight, usable items are so important. Items like shirts, a microwave safe bowl, command strips or even a thermometer will always come in handy.

It will not be forgotten either. The next time a poster falls or the dryer shrinks their last good sock, your child will remember they put that random tool set in the back of the drawer and be grateful.

Sentimental gifts

A handwritten note or card with a simple reminder that you are there and proud of them is always appreciated. We keep them all, too. It’s a great way to make your child feel cared for without getting too mushy.

Ultimately, you know your student. And, all packages are care packages when you consider what they want and need. Don’t feel like you are required to include certain items or that your student won’t be thankful. All mail is welcome and will brighten your student’s day.

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