TSU Aristocrat of Bands committed to 100 percent voter registration, band director urges voting

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – The director of Tennessee State University’s world-renowned Aristocrat of Bands has a message for his band members and anyone else: Vote!

AOB band members (l to r) Don Jones, Tameria Cole, and Kayla Jenkins 

Dr. Reginald McDonald recently participated in a workshop on absentee voting to educate members of the band on how to ensure their ballots are counted for the Nov. 3 presidential election, and to register those who aren’t. Since the Oct. 2 event, just about all the members are registered.

“We’re committed to getting 100 percent of our membership registered to vote,” said McDonald. “In 2020, you need to vote like your life depends on it.”

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TSU junior Tiara Thomas, the student trustee on the University’s Board of Trustees, was the main organizer of the voting workshop. A week before, she facilitated “The TSU Tiger’s Guide to Absentee Voting Virtual Seminar,” which was hosted by TSU Football Coach Rod Reed for his players. Since the seminar, all of them are now registered.

“I was really inspired by the football team’s leadership in getting 100 percent of their players registered to vote,” said Thomas, a member of the band. “I didn’t want to stop with the football team. I wanted to hit the next biggest group on campus, which is the AOB. I just think that anytime you wear a Tennessee State uniform that you are automatically viewed as a leader. And I feel like right now it’s important for our Tennessee State University community leaders to actively vote,” and encourage others to do the same.

In 2018, only 34 percent of the campus actively voted, said Thomas, who has been a crusader on campus for voter education and registration.  

Tiara Thomas

“As trustee this year, my goal is to double that turnout, if not 100 percent,” said the Biloxi, Mississippi, native.   

AOB drum major Julien Dooley said many students realize the importance of this year’s presidential election, in particular.

“A lot of my friends are very knowledgeable of who they’re voting for, and the importance of it,” said Dooley, a senior from Atlanta. “The things we want to happen depend on who gets in office.”

For information on deadlines to register, early voting, mail-in voting, and absentee ballots, visit the website of the Secretary of State in your state. 

Department of Media Relations

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About Tennessee State University

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 39 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and seven doctoral degrees.  TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee.  With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students  with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

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