JOHNSON CITY — As ETSU Pride Week gears up this week, organizers are focusing on East Tennessee State University’s newest facets and what looks to be another year for record enrollment.
“It’s absolutely more pride than ever,” said Bob Plummer, ETSU associate vice president for university advancement and the ETSU Alumni Association’s executive director. “Hopefully, everybody comes and we can make room and make sure they all have a place to go.
“I think a lot of it is kids in the region making the decision to stay here at home. It just validates what we have talked about with ETSU Pride all along, and that’s this university is a great resource and it’s as good as any that you might go off to.”
Beginning Thursday with the arrival of freshmen and transfer students for the university’s annual Preview orientation program, ETSU Pride Week will be a nine-day campaign to welcome students to campus for the start of the new academic year.
Though its origins date back to 1995 when some alumni began posting ETSU Pride signs around Johnson City, the event took off in 1997 with a communitywide celebration. So, this year’s program represents a 10th anniversary of sorts.
“It’s amazing that after 10 years our friends in this community continue to drag out the signs and continue to reach our students and give them such a warm welcome,” Plummer said.
To recognize the milestone, the schedule includes a birthday party Aug. 27 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the Borchuck Plaza adjacent to the Sherrod Library. Plummer said the event will include a student cupcake decorating contest that could turn into an eating contest, as well.
ETSU Pride Week also will celebrate two new milestones for the university — the debut of Governors Hall, ETSU’s new 542-bed residence hall, and the opening of the visitors center at the Gray Fossil Site.
Freshmen and transfer students are scheduled to move into the $20 million dormitory on Thursday followed over the weekend by the remainder of residents. As always, ETSU Pride Week volunteers will be on hand to help students move into residents halls across the campus Thursday.
Officially known as the East Tennessee State University and General Shale Brick Natural History Museum, the fossil site’s center will open to the public Aug. 31.
“It’s obviously one of the most remarkable facets that a university could have,” Plummer said of the fossil site. “We feel like that deserves as much attention as we can share and put light on. The people of this region should know that they have one of the most unique places in the world.
“The leadership of this state and this university has made sure that it has been captured in a perfect setting. That place alone is one of the most remarkable things we’ll ever have to talk about.”
For more ETSU Pride Week information, contact the Alumni Office at 439-4218 or visit www.etsu.edu/alumni/docs/pride_calendar_2007.pdf.