Last fall, the combined efforts of MTSU professor Mary A. Evins and her group of student and community volunteers secured the Blue Raider campus a second win as the top four-year public university in Secretary of State Tre Hargett’s College Voter Registration Competition.
Hargett visited the campus Thursday, Jan. 26, and presented the glass plaque award to Student Government Association President Jada Powell in front of attendees at the association’s weekly meeting held in the Student Union Parliamentary Room.
“I’m delighted to be back at MTSU because this is a place where the SGA, ADP (American Democracy Project) and Dr. Evins take civic engagement so seriously and always takes a great deal of pride in how hard you work to get your fellow students registered,” Hargett said.
Hargett went on to thank the efforts of faculty leaders Evins, Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs Danny Kelley, Director of Student Organizations and Service Jackie Victory and Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Deb Sells along with the volunteers from hundreds of student organizations and the larger Murfreesboro community who worked hard to register 343 students to vote during the competition, defending the university’s number one title.
“The secretary’s statewide incentive challenge for university students to register to vote is a fun and energizing opportunity to pump up our game, and Secretary Hargett’s regular involvement with MTSU through the years is generous and appreciated,” said Evins, who also coordinates the university chapter of the ADP. “We are honored each time he visits, and we thank him for helping facilitate and encourage student voter registration through this collegiate program.”
University President Sidney A. McPhee said by increasing voter participation, everyone wins.
“I am proud that our students showed their True Blue spirit and captured top honors in this worthy competition,” McPhee said.
Evins said even though MTSU participates in multiple student voting challenges each election cycle, the main objective is to get the entire student body to be active citizens in their democracy.
“We see our main competition as one against ourselves,” Evins said. “We work to expand and increase MTSU student registration and student voting every year, to better ourselves from the election before.”
Hard work recognized
Murfreesboro native Elliot Certain, a democracy fellow in the ADP and junior social work student, was one of many student volunteers in the campuswide voter registration push last fall.
“Recognition in the form of this award is especially important because it means that our hard work in getting … students registered to vote is recognized,” said Certain. “The personal touch of having the secretary of state recognize our efforts makes it that much more impactful.”
As president of the ADP on campus, Stevie Naumcheff, from Huntsville, Alabama, facilitated and worked at the campus voter registration booth and participated in campus events that encouraged civic engagement.
“Hopefully, our commitment to civic engagement further solidifies MTSU’s positive reputation across the state and country as a whole,” said the speech language pathology and audiology junior.
“I (also) hope that we continue the momentum we have now, and each election cycle up our campus engagement,” Naumcheff said. “Young people’s voices matter so much, but often go unheard due to lack of civic engagement. I want MTSU to continue to be a leader in student voting engagement for the state of Tennessee.”
Evins said planning for the 2024 election season has already begun.
To learn more about the opportunities at the MTSU chapter of the American Democracy Project, visit the website at https://www.mtsu.edu/amerdem.
— Stephanie Wagner (Stephanie.Wagner@mtsu.edu)
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