A few thousand students won't be the only part of campus graduating this spring. UT's current bus transit system, "The T," will drive its final routes in May before a new bus system takes over in the summer.

That new bus system doesn't have a name — at least not yet — and until Thursday at midnight, UT students have an opportunity to suggest a title for the buses they'll be riding for the rest of their academic tenure.

An online suggestion box is open exclusively to students, and is accessible at the "Your Bus, Your Idea" tab of SGA's website (sga.utk.edu).

The decision to make the naming process open to student input stemmed from the opinion that SGA Vice President Terry Nowell and Student Services Director Taelor Olive voiced during recent meetings with UT administrators.

"This is not a bus system for 'Big Orange, Big Ideas,' marketing," Nowell said. "This is not a bus system for the chancellors. This is not a bus system for the athletic department. This is a bus system for the students. And with that, we see it as paramount to make sure that the students like and have input into what it's called."

As compared to the current buses, most of which are blandly colored and feature advertisements, the new system is set to be tailored specifically to UT.

"It basically will be the university's system," said Mark Hairr, director of Parking and Transit Services. "The buses would be brand new, would be branded with our name and our logo for the campus transit system and (would) be dedicated solely to campus transit service."

Nowell said that meetings remained civil, but did get heated as he and Olive proposed greater student input in the naming process.

"It will be a way to make sure that students are really voicing their opinions and really having their input made so that it's not just a couple people in a boardroom put there to look like they are student representatives," Nowell said. "We're really happy about it, and the survey so far, it has been going really well and we're hoping that it kind of keeps its momentum going these next couple days. We really do need students to check it out."

The top five names for the system will be taken and presented to administrators after the survey closes Thursday at midnight.

The final name will be announced in the spring as "The T" drives its final routes around campus.

"The main thing that Taelor and I realized is that students, especially with a decision that's as tangible as this, have to have input," Nowell said. "'Big Orange, Big Ideas' did not have the student representation and public nature that we're hoping this will. We're hoping really that this makes students feel like they really are a part of this new bus system.
"Because that's ultimately what it is, it's their bus system and we need them to have the most amount of impact in it as possible."