JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. - With holiday decorations and music in abundance, shoppers visiting The Mall at Johnson City are noticing something new in the food court.
After an overnight transformation last week, it is now known as the ETSU Food Court through a three-year sponsorship arrangement between East Tennessee State University and the mall.
The ETSU Food Court was unveiled Thursday at a ribbon-cutting ceremony led by representatives of the Johnson City-Jonesborough-Washington County Chamber of Commerce, ETSU and the mall.
The eating area on the lower level features four giant vinyl murals around the top perimeter depicting ETSU students, faculty, staff and alumni along with multi-faceted views of university life. Large banners on the food court's columns also spotlight ETSU's current 10 colleges and schools.
Marsha Hammond, the mall's marketing director and an ETSU alumna, said the idea for the project was submitted to ETSU Athletic Director Dave Mullins several months ago. University officials quickly accepted the opportunity to showcase ETSU in the mall environment, Hammond said.
"We're pleased whenever we can promote our students and programs," said Michael White, ETSU assistant athletic director. "We see this new endeavor as a great way to reach out to the community."
Following the ceremony, shoppers and diners enjoyed entertainment provided by members of the ETSU Gospel Choir, ETSU Bluegrass Band, and Tenika Dye from the university's storytelling program.
In addition, various aspects of ETSU were highlighted through table displays with representatives from admissions, athletics, financial aid, the College of Nursing, the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences, housing and residence life, ETSU at Bristol, the Military Science Department, the School of Graduate Studies, and the Gray Fossil Site.