Engineering Vols Run with Smokey

For me, personally, it does
mean a lot being able to take care of Smokey. I’m one of his
senior handlers, so it’s only a very select group that ever get
to do it. At a time there’s only three — between two and three —
handlers, so being able to take care of him and bring him to all
the school functions and community functions means a lot
just because of the joy he brings to the community. The
experience itself—there’s nothing like it. Nobody gets to
have that. So, I think moving forward, it’s something that I
will never forget. It will make my time here at UT something
that I will always remember. Smokey means a lot to me. He’s
been a tradition at UT for a long time, and I grew up in a
very UT-based family. My dad went to school here. Both my
older brothers were handlers for Smokey so it’s something that
I’ve been looking forward to ever since I was a kid. Back in the 70s, the original
owners of Smokey decided that they wanted a school
organization to take care of Smokey. They selected Alpha
Gamma Rho, which is a fraternity here on campus. Once
you’re interviewed and finally get selected, you get to do it
for two years, so you do it your junior and senior year. I do think there is a torch
being passed. And Kyle really taught us a lot
about our job. Being Smokey’s handler is a big
responsibility, but also being an engineering student is also
a big responsibility. And so Being able to balance both of
those things, they kind of feed one another and they both kind
of helped me to succeed in each other. A lot of the lessons learned
from being a handler, as far as serving the community, using
that Volunteer Spirit, I’ve personally gotten to use through
my Senior Design Project. I was able, with a group of other
students, to serve the Gatlinburg community by
designing a greenway for them. That greenway would not have
gotten built if it wasn’t for our design. So, I think that
service aspect is a huge portion of being able to reflect the
Volunteer Spirit. ♪♪ Believe it or not, he’s actually
a really focused dog. When he gets his eyes set on
something, whether it be a bug that just ran past his face
or a squirrel running somewhere, he’s focused on it. There could be a million
pictures going on, loud noises in Neyland Stadium. If he can
stay calm and tame during that and just chill I think he can handle any class
that we’ve sat through.

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