In anticipation of the upcoming national election in November, MTSU is hosting a gathering designed to increase civic engagement.
The 2020 Middle Tennessee Campus Civic Summit, the third annual statewide event of its kind in Tennessee, will take place from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, Feb. 21, in the Student Union Ballroom.
Registration, breakfast and lunch are free, and the event is open to the public. Registration is available online here through Thursday, Feb. 20.
Organizer Mary Evins, an associate professor of history in the University Honors College and coordinator of MTSU’s American Democracy Project, describes the summit as part of “a collective effort to break down barriers for student voting in Tennessee.”
A free breakfast, lunch and other materials will be provided at the event. Free parking will also be available in the Student Union parking lot. Off-campus visitors can find a parking map at http://bit.ly/MTSUParkingMap.
National and local experts will share their expertise on student voting, campus organizing and civic education through workshops and learning sessions.
While MTSU is one of only two Tennessee institutions listed in Washington Monthly’s list of top colleges for student voter turnout, Evins said there’s still more work to be done.
“On every college campus in Tennessee, we have got to improve our campus voting numbers,” Evins said. “When you compare our voter participation percentages to those in other states, it is not impressive.”
The day of workshops, panel events and lectures will include a discussion on “Voting History, Voting Agency” with Sayil Camacho, a postdoctoral fellow at Vanderbilt University, and Sekou Franklin, an associate professor of political science at MTSU, at 8:40 A.M.
State Reps. London Lamar, a Democrat from Memphis, and Charles Baum, a Republican from Murfreesboro and an MTSU professor of economics, will participate in a panel discussion on voting on campus and Tennessee legislation at 10 a.m.
Abby Kiesa, director of impact for the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement at Tufts University in Boston, Massachusetts, will be the luncheon speaker at 11:30 a.m. Kiesa will address the subject of “Voting Access and Barriers.”
Jennifer Domagal-Goldman, executive director of the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge, a program of the Washington, D.C.-based Civic Nation, will speak on “Rising to the Challenge of Full Civic Participation Among Students” at 1:45 p.m.
A 2:45 p.m. session on organizing campus action planning will feature Camacho and Domagal-Goldman along with Pratik Dash of the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition; Verdis Robinson, director of Boston-based Campus Compact, a coalition of colleges and universities that promotes civic education; and Felice Nudelman, executive director of the national American Democracy Project.
Event sponsors include MTSU, the American Democracy Project, the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy, the University of Tennessee-Knoxville Office of Student Leadership and Involvement, the University of Memphis, Scholars Strategy Network, Tennessee Campus Democracy Network, The Urban League of Greater Chattanooga, and the Students Learn Students Vote Coalition.
For more information, contact Evins at 615-904-8241 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
— Gina Logue (Gina.Logue@mtsu.edu) and Carl Coates Jr. (email@example.com)