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Ignite has a strong tradition on our campus, and incoming students have been participating in the program for more than fifteen years. Each year nearly 1,000 of incoming students participate—you do not want to miss out on this Volunteer tradition!

Ignite is a unique opportunity for incoming students (freshmen and transfers) to jump-start their leadership journey at UT. Ignite participants learn UT traditions, discover their leadership potential, and meet other new students and student leaders.

There are four separate programs within Ignite that have similar goals, but use different environments and activities to welcome students into the Volunteer family.

Ignite program dates for 2018:

All programs are led by current UT students serving as Ignite Team Leaders.

No payment is required to register; we will charge your student account for the appropriate amount in August.


  • Jump start your leadership legacy at UT
  • Meet hundreds of other new students and current student leaders
  • Experience campus, the outdoors or the city of Knoxville like never before
  • Participants have a greater success rate than nonparticipants in making it to graduation
  • Participants go on to become premier student leaders, serving in a variety of roles on campus


Ignite Knox is a four-day leadership and community engagement program that introduces students who are not from Knoxville to our Scruffy City. Participants engage in conversation with UT alums and city leaders, tour city landmarks, serve local nonprofits, and participate in leadership and traditions activities.

Ignite Leadership Summit is a three-day retreat in Asheville, NC for incoming students in which we hope to instill a connection to the University of Tennessee, inspire a commitment to collegiate success, and ignite students’ potential in leadership and service. The 300 students who attend each year have the opportunity to network with current student leaders as well as with faculty and staff members from different areas of campus.

FacepaintingIgnite Outdoors is a five-day adventure program conducted in partnership with the UT Outdoor Program. Participants practice outdoor leadership skills in the pristine backcountry of East Tennessee while camping, hiking, and paddle boarding and rock climbing. This hands-on outdoor experience is the perfect for any skill level!

Ignite Serves is a four-day leadership and service experience for 500 incoming students. Participants move into their residence halls ahead of the official move-in day and participate in four days packed with service opportunities, leadership programming, and social events. They learn more about the greater Knoxville community, develop close friendships, discover the tradition behind being a Volunteer.

What Former Ignite Participants and Their Parents Have to Say

“My experiences at Ignite helped me define what it really means to be a Tennessee Vol and how to become a part of campus.” —Ignite participant

Student with an Ignite shirt look up and the American flag in front of Ayres Hall“Both of our children participated in Ignite their freshman year and became leaders in the program. It was a great introduction to UT and helped them meet new people in a smaller setting. I would highly recommend this program to incoming freshmen.” —Mary La Haie, Nashville 

“Participating in Ignite was probably the single best decision I could have made before stepping on campus.” —Ignite participant



Apply to be an Ignite Team Leader

Center for Leadership and Service
Division of Student Life

2238 Dunford Hall (second floor)
Hours: Monday-Friday, 8:00 am to 5:00 pm
Phone: 865-974-1039 E-mail:

The flagship campus of the University of Tennessee System and partner in the Tennessee Transfer Pathway.