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The Idaho Path is All About the Journey

It's not always the destination that counts, but how one travels along the path.

For Sam Chafe, who will wrap up his degree in public relations this month, the last few steps of his college education are by far the most adventurous. It’s a fitting cap to his journey at the University of Idaho, which has included leadership, engagement and countless opportunities.

Chafe will accompany University of Idaho President Duane Nellis on a seven-day trip around Idaho, June 24-30. During Nellis’ Leadership Tour, Chafe will blog about his experiences as the tour visits 12 cities and covers the breadth of Idaho.

"I'm very excited for this trip," says Chafe. "It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be the sole student – out of 12,000 – to follow the president around the state."

Raised in Kennewick, Wash., Chafe had a desire to move to the East Coast after high school – the place his father was raised.

An avid hockey player, Chafe has had a passion for the ice for nearly 15 years. As fate would have it, one passion would lead to the next.

"One day, I was in Moscow for a hockey tournament," Chafe notes. "Between games, dad and I drove around campus. It was beautiful; it seemed close-knit. After that visit, we talked about it, and I decided to apply."

Idaho's acceptance letter arrived first. "And since it was first, I chose Idaho," says Chafe.

He fully engaged in the collegiate experience. During his first semester, Chafe joined the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity and pursued several leadership opportunities in the house, including alumni relations chair, Relay-4-Life chair, new membership education chair, philanthropy committee, worthy chaplain and vice president.

"I recommend that people go Greek," he says proudly. "You meet so many people in the Greek system. When you join, it's 50 or 60 instant friends."

In addition to the full schedule due to involvement with the fraternity, Chafe worked part time. His favorite job was with Opportunities Unlimited, where he provided assistance to developmentally disabled people of all ages.

"It was a fun and rewarding job," he recalls. "We would pick up kids at school, and help them with skills needed for independence in their everyday lives."

Chafe also took advantage of an internship in the university's Communications and Marketing department. He wrote news releases and web features, provided media staffing at events, directed photo shoots and even found himself part of an international story.

"I wrote a web feature about Theogene Rudasingwa, the former ambassador to the U.S. from Rwanda, who was in Moscow for the Borah Symposium," he notes. “In 2010, Rudasingwa and a few of his colleagues had written 'The Rwanda Briefing', which included information calling Rwandan President Paul Kagame corrupt. His opposition to the president earned Rudasingwa a place on the Rwanda’s ‘most wanted’ list."

After the symposium, Chafe found a blog that brought the stark realities of international politics to light; it called for the Rudasingwa’s death and included his article. It was a sobering moment for Chafe about the power and reach of all manner of communication pieces.

Chafe says his communications internship will be a very fond memory. "I enjoyed it immensely. I feel that it prepared me more than any class I've taken," he says. "It's been very hands-on, and I've learned by doing."

Similarly, he believes the Leadership Tour will provide him with additional experience that will be useful in his professional life. He'll attend business meetings, alumni receptions and media appointments, and will blog about what he observes. He'll take photos and video from around the state. And he'll make unforgettable connections.

View his blog: http://presidentialtour.uidaho.edu/