If you were on campus around lunchtime yesterday and didn't eat for free, then you missed out.
UT's Career Services hosted its sixth annual cookout on Thursday, grilling enough hotdogs and hamburgers to feed between 1,500 and 1,700 people, while hoping to provide more than just a lunch.
Career Services representative Mary Mahoney said that the goal of the cookout is to raise awareness about the assistance that Career Services can provide to students of all ages.
"This is our sixth year doing it," Mahoney said. "And the idea when we started it was just to do something to kind of say thank you to students and say 'hey, we're here. This is career services. We want you to see where we're located, we can help you.' "
She said that an event like Thursday's will increase traffic through Career Services, but that it's still a resource which students underutilize.
"We really wish we had more students come in to make appointments with us, come to the workshops and come to our job fairs," said Mahoney.
The first on-campus job fair of the 2012-2013 year, the Greater Knoxville Job Fair, will be Thursday from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. in the University Center Ballroom, but even Thursday's cookout provided students with an opportunity to meet with potential employers.
"Corporate sponsors get involved and help underwrite the cost," Mahoney said. "And they're all employers that hire UT students. So we kind of did it just to reach out to the students, but again to make students, staff, and faculty aware that Career Services is here and something can really help students find a job."
Target and Enterprise Rent-A-Car were among a handful of companies with representatives on hand to speak with UT students.
"It opens up students to some career options, and that's really what we're here for," said Enterprise representative Glen Speer. "This one is a more informal, trying to get our name out there event, but we also do the more formal ones just to kind of let them know what an Enterprise career is."
Mahoney said she hopes students will attend Career Services' largest job fair to be held September 25 in Thompson-Boling Arena. Mahoney said the annual event usually draws between 150 and 170 corporations looking to engage UT students. Past job fairs have seen a variety of organizatons in attendance, from accounting firms and theme parks to U.S. Army recruiters.
Career Services is located in Dunford Hall and is open from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.