Dr. Sidney McPhee, President of MTSU, probably says it best:
“I am True Blue is much more than a mere slogan. It is an affirmation that you are part of a community that shares certain values and works together to further the progress and success of a great university.”
You’ve seen it everywhere and have probably recited it once or twice. The True Blue Pledge was written by a task force appointed by McPhee in 2011. Coming after the tragic death of Lady Raider basketball player Tina Stewart, the job of this group was to develop a plan to encourage nonviolent conflict resolution within the student body.
The group developed core values that represent what it means to be a Blue Raider and laid it out as a sort of manifesto:
“I am True Blue.
As a member of this diverse community,
I am a valuable contributor to its progress and success.
I am engaged in the life of this community.
I am a recipient and a giver.
I am a listener and a speaker.
I am honest in word and deed.
I am committed to reason, not violence.
I am a learner, now and forever.
I am a Blue Raider.
The primary message of the pledge is an emphasis on MTSU being a diverse community where we all come together and work hard under one label: Blue Raiders. We give and take, listen and speak, and commit to being lifelong learners. All successes, both personal and communal, are all of ours to claim as long as we commit to being True Blue. This is an important message that applies to everyone, regardless of age, gender, color, or creed.
While reciting phrases constantly can make them less impactful in your mind, this pledge stands strong because of its relevant content and the bond it strengthens within our community. It’s simple, it is direct, and it lays out how to be the best contributor to MTSU and a model Blue Raider.
Thoughts from the MTSU Community
Although it is a very simple declaration free from confusing language, the pledge can mean different things to certain people due to the impact it has had on their lives. Here are some of the True Blue leaders on MTSU’s campus sharing what the pledge means to them!
Linda Olsen, Director of Undergraduate Admissions
“As a member of the MTSU family the True Blue Pledge is a reminder of the strength of this community and the commitment I make to contribute to the integrity of the ideals our University holds. When I hear the words True Blue, they inspire me to strive to represent the values outlined in the Pledge (honesty and integrity, respect for diversity, engagement in the community, and committing to reason, not violence) every day. It is with pride I claim to be True Blue!”
Courtney Brandon, Student Government Association President, 2017-2019
“To me, the True Blue Pledge is a symbol of the loss our True Blue family experienced when we lost one of our family members, Tina Stewart, to violence. It’s a pledge in remembering her and a statement saying that we will not forget how violence has impacted us as a community. It means that we are taking a stance against violence just by being apart of the True Blue family. The True Blue Pledge expresses the type of people we will strive to be: a valuable contributor, a recipient and a giver, and a listener and a speaker. In this pledge, we remind ourselves that we are committed to nonviolence as a part of our MTSU community, and as new Blue Raiders join the family, we will have them take the same pledge symbolizing the culture our family has created even for those that have yet to come.”
Vincent Windrow, Associate Vice Provost for Student Success
“The only thing that rivals my direct involvement in the removal of the Forrest statue from the KUC as a student in terms of point of pride is my being the Thomas Jefferson of MTSU’s True Blue Pledge. Although I only wrote about 90% of the Pledge in its final form, I am 100% sure it speaks to the culture of our university and the hope of our nation.
You see. throughout the course of our lifetimes, our paths will cross with a diverse traffic of people. There will be all types of intersections. The Pledge intentionally articulates what those interactions should be like: patient, kind, respectful, mutually beneficial, honest and civil. Or commitment to such a community is not only necessary, it’s needful. Selah.”
What does the True Blue Pledge mean to you? Shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to take part in a “part 2” of this article!