FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WTVD) -- Students at Fayetteville State University joined the ranks of countless others taking to the streets to encourage people to vote.
Approximately 100 students came out to the Trot to the Polls event held at Fayetteville State on Friday. Students marched from the university's campus to the Smith Recreation Center on Slater Avenue where students could register to vote and cast early ballots. Organizers say one of their goals was to get students registered to vote in Cumberland County.
"College students make up such a large percentage of the voting body," said Maya Martin, the FSU Student Government Association President. "(S)o if we're not voting--at least while the four years that we're here, we really are going to have a detrimental impact on what is happening and the rules that are being made that affect us directly."
Martin also says students were motivated to hold the event because of the historical impact voter suppression has had on the Black community.
"Historically, not many people in our community have voted, and especially not early voting because of policies that were put into place to prevent us from doing so. So, as historically Black college university students, we want to make sure that our peers know of civic engagement, and how much they will be impacting their communities for generations to come."
Students say there is a wide variety of political issues drawing them to the polls this midterm election, including abortion rights, climate change, gun laws, and the higher education system.
"The Roe vs. Wade standing that's been overturned, I believe that's totally against the rights of women," said Tyshawn Adams, a Fayetteville State student. "I do believe that women should have the right to decide what they want to do with their body. And I just feel like that's one thing that we as students, we as a younger generation, should have a very outspoken voice on."
"We need more funding in higher education," said student Kari Simmons. "I feel like there needs to be more representation for African Americans-especially African American females in the workplace."
"Education is always a big concern, especially when it comes to debt relief for a lot of us when it comes to loans," Martin said. "(A) lot of us at FSU have to make big loans in order to attend university because they come from a home environment where they may be first-generation students or economically disadvantaged."
The young voters also stressed the need for better voter education and the importance of voters researching candidates and issues before going to the polls.
"I feel like officials could make a better effort in making things more accessible," Simmons said. "I know that now, a lot of political figures have websites and they're accessible. But not a lot of information is given right out front. I feel like they could be doing a lot better jobs like coming to schools or going to colleges and talking to students, letting them know what they stand for."
On Election Day, student groups will also come out to educate their classmates on their voting rights, and to escort Fayetteville State students to and from polling locations.