UT Leadership Program Now Connects New Students to Knoxville Community

Ignite, a strong tradition for more than fifteen years at UT, has welcomed hundreds of incoming freshmen and transfer students each summer to jump-start their leadership journey by learning UT traditions, discovering their leadership potential and meeting other new students and student leaders.

This summer, 215 incoming students have gone through the program. Another 615 arrive next week to participate.

Ignite is divided into four separate programs that have similar goals but use different locations and activities—Ignite Leadership Summit, Ignite Outdoors, Ignite Serves, and Ignite Knox.

Ignite Serves

The newest program, Ignite Knox, launched this summer as a four-day leadership and community engagement program focused on connecting incoming students with the Knoxville community.

The program, which runs August 8–11, was created after UT’s Center for Leadership and Service began partnering with Knoxville’s Community Connectors, a local version of the national organization CEOs for Cities. This group consists of a diverse group of local leaders who are passionate about the city of Knoxville.

In addition to focusing on highlighting the many opportunities and experiences that Knoxville has to offer, Community Connectors has focused its energy on the recruitment and retention of talent in the Knoxville area, which includes UT’s Class of 2020.

The goal of Ignite Knox is to encourage UT students to see Knoxville as a home, not just the location of their university, with the hope they will stay in Knoxville to live and work after they graduate. Fifty first-year students will interact with current students, staff, and Knoxville leaders to learn about engaging with the campus and the community.

Students also will serve with local Knoxville organizations, including the Love Kitchen, CAC Beardsley Community Farm, and Keep Knoxville Beautiful. They will learn their way around Knoxville by going on various city excursions and will participate in leadership development workshops.

Makinzi Butram, a rising senior and previous Ignite team leader, is serving as one of the student directors for Ignite Knox.

Butram, who is majoring in retail and consumer science, attended both Ignite Summit and Ignite Serves as a first-year student. She said she’s excited to be a part of Ignite Knox.

“I wanted to help plan this program because not only has UT become home for me, but I consider Knoxville to be home as well. I want that to be the case for other incoming students,” she said. “Coming to college, especially in an unfamiliar city, can be very nerve wracking. I wanted to be able to highlight the amazing things about Knoxville and help incoming students feel more at home. It took me four years to experience the things these participants will get to do.”

C O N T A C T :

Katherine Saxon (865-974-8365, ksaxon@utk.edu)