MURFREESBORO, TN (WSMV) - Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) said it is proud to become the first university in the state to join over 350 other schools to join President Biden's "COVID-19 College Vaccine Challenge."

The challenge is part of the Biden administration's plan to boost the nation's vaccination rate to 70% by the 4th of July.

“I think being able to reach students especially making sure the vaccine is accessible like it is here…it sends a good message that MTSU is a place that you should come in and also come to be vaccinated,” said Dr. Katie Foss, MTSU Professor of Media Studies. 

Some students say this push is vital, especially while Tennessee’s vaccination rate sits at only 32%.  

 “If you have concerns, those concerns are definitely valid. But do your research. Do as much research as you can,” said Antonio Dodson, Philanthropic Coordinator for the MTSU Student Government Association. 

Since fewer people are on campus during the summer, organizations like the Student Government Association plan to use their online platforms to help spread the word. 

 “Our vaccines are very safe, and we are doing everything we can to make sure students have the information they need to make that decision for themselves,” said Dodson.  

The White House and the U.S. Department of Education are inviting institutions like MTSU to help the nation's vaccination rate improve past the current 63%.

Currently, Tennessee's vaccination rate is only 32%.

MTSU and participating colleges commit to taking specific actions that help get their campus and community members vaccinated.

MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee said the vaccine challenge builds on efforts across the country and on the Blue Raider campus over the past year to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

As we prepare to return to a more normal level of in-person campus activity this fall, it’s important to remember that the pandemic is not over and that we must all continue to be vigilant and take common-sense steps to bring this virus under further control. MTSU is proud to join the many other college campuses around the country in doing our part to encourage our community to get vaccinated. - MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee

MTSU is using the challenge to continue building on its "Don't Miss Your Shot" vaccine campaign that started in spring. Since vaccinations on campus began, MTSI has administered over 10,000 vaccines, with over a third of those shots being given to students.

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