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UT Student Takes Leadership to the Extreme

Published: February 16, 2009
When Katelyn Chapman first came to The University of Tampa as a freshman student, she was among a select few who participated in the annual ELITE ( Educating Leaders in Today’s Environment ) leadership retreat, which seeks to engage new students as leaders in the campus community.

Seeing the potential for the program, Chapman sought to create an organization to complement ELITE – one that would last through the entire year.

The organization, Extreme ELITE, is hardcore – it includes year around activities for students committed to leading, and making a difference.

“I’m the type of person who, if I want something, I’m going to make it happen,” Chapman said. While others had attempted to expand ELITE over the course of the program’s 15-year history, it wasn’t until Chapman stepped up that Extreme ELITE became a reality.

Extreme ELITE students collaborate on community service events – such as volunteer events at soup kitchens and other charitable organizations, environmental clean-up projects and charitable giving initiatives to places like Tampa’s HOPE Children’s Home. The group also participates in team-building projects such as high-ropes courses, indoor rock climbing and camping trips.

“We try to continue the ELITE philosophy throughout the year, recruiting people who want to do something new and adventurous,” Chapman said.

Today Extreme ELITE has grown to become one of the most active organizations on the UT campus, boasting more than 50 students participating in various service and leadership activities throughout the year.

As a major in entrepreneurship, Chapman’s drive for leadership is not surprising. With dreams of one day starting her own business, Chapman has harnessed many of her own interests into a host of leadership positions and experiences that are sure to impress potential future employers.

After working as a desk attendant at UT’s McNiff Fitness Center her freshman year, Chapman became certified to act as one of the center’s personal athletic trainers. She also spent a semester in Australia during her sophomore year as part of a study abroad experience, and traveled to Ireland and the U.K. as part of a UT travel-study trip.

Kim Northup, UT’s assistant director of Leadership Engagement, said Chapman’s motivation and commitment to the Extreme ELITE will ensure it that continues.

“As Katelyn graduates in May, she is leaving behind an important legacy – a legacy that will continue to be an important part of UT’s leadership development efforts,” Northup said.