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Boo in the Courtyard contestants for 2021

Boo in the Courtyard Boosts Campus Spirit and Chancellor’s Day of Service


The TCE community gathered on November 1 at the engineering courtyard for spirited seasonal competition as Boo in the Courtyard, the college’s annual costume contest, returned to campus. This year’s theme was “game shows and board games,” and faculty and staff interpreted this concept with trademark creativity.

The event doubled as a collection day for items donated to the Chancellor’s Day of Service. The college was able to give more than 1,200 items and a cash donation to this partnership with YWCA Knoxville. The project will offer 250 welcome home baskets to support women and families in East Tennessee. The Chancellor’s Day of Service  will officially be 11 a.m.–3 p.m. Wednesday, November 17, in the Student Union Ballroom.

In the costume contest, a combined team representing both civil and engineering (CEE) and chemical and biomolecular engineering (CBE) earned a first-place win by portraying the game show “The Price is Right.”

Chris Cox, CEE department head, filled the Bob Barker role, complete with a “house engineered” prop microphone and Barker’s famous catch phrase, encouraging the crowd to “Help control the pet population: Have your pets spayed or neutered.”

The team from nuclear engineering (NE) earned second place with creative costumes that combined the game of pool or billiards with nuclear engineering (fission). They each chose a colored ball that represented both an actual billiard ball and either a proton or a neutron and stood in a triangle formation as a racked set of pool balls.

Scott Emert, the department’s research laboratory manager, wore a white shirt as the cue ball (a neutron) and ran toward the other team members, who dispersed rapidly to represent the act of fission. To add a little extra flare, the group detonated colorful streamers to show that gamma rays were created during this process.

This year marked the first time an individual costume category was offered, and four staff members competed. Amber White won the category with her costume and performance as game-show host and comedian Steve Harvey.

Yvette Gooden, administrative support specialist in industrial and systems engineering, earned second place with her costume salute to both “Let’s Make a Deal” and Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), the traditional Mexican holiday for remembering and honoring ancestors.

Frank Holiway, accounting specialist with materials science and engineering (MSE), chomped on third place as the Hungry, Hungry Hippo of the board-game of the same name.

Ella Dubendorfer, MSE administrative support assistant, also participated as the Professor Plum character from the game “Clue.” In the lingo of that game, she described her costume as “Professor Plum with the candlestick in the courtyard.”

Students also joined the courtyard party to enjoy the activities and refreshments.


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