The North Carolina Public Interest Research Group (NCPIRG) is a student activist group that is stepping foot on NC State’s campus to bring awareness to issues such as lack of youth voting, plastic use on campus and more. Sept. 28 was National Voter Registration Day, and NCPIRG set up in front of the Atrium to urge students to register to vote.
On National Voter Registration Day, roughly 30 students registered to vote in person or virtually. According to Abby Cornett, a first-year studying political science and NCPIRG intern, many students were previously registered.
“Voter turnout is really low in youth voters, so it is really important to get the word out so that we can increase voter turnout,” Cornett said.
Cornett said voting registration can sometimes be a complicated process which can discourage students from registering to vote. The organization sees the college-age demographic as one that is especially important to get to the polls.
“People aged 18-24 are the most diverse group of eligible voters, so it is really important that younger voters' voices are heard,” said Belle LaMontagne, the NCPIRG campus organizer. “Unfortunately, we have the worst voter turnout rates of any other demographic.”
Many students agree with LaMontagne, saying that it is important for younger demographics to vote because it will impact our future and the future of the upcoming generation.
Isabela George, a first-year studying graphic design, said increasing voter turnout in youth has far-reaching impacts.
“It is important [for young people to vote] because we are the future, and every decision matters,” George said. “We have a say in this and our future.”
Aashu Parajuli, a second-year studying computer science, said she believes that an increase in youth voters can directly impact students’ lives.
“We are the ones that are going to be affected by what politicians do, so if we don’t care, then it can affect us negatively,” Parajuli said.
NCPIRG is part of Public Interest Network, which is not only active on NC State’s campus, but on over 50 campuses in the U.S.
“We work on environmental issues, increasing youth voter turnout and some other campus-specific issues,” LaMontagne said. “We even have a unique campaign here called Raleigh Renters Recycle that a student came up with.”
NCPIRG can often be seen on campus gaining signatures for petitions on various issues, and raising awareness for campus-specific issues that are brushed over in everyday life at NC State.
NCPIRG offers internship and volunteer opportunities for students interested in sharing information on various issues related to NC State or Raleigh. If students are interested in being involved with the organization, they should contact Belle LaMontagne at email@example.com, or fill out an interest card. NCPIRG also has a website with resources that help students register to vote or find information on how to vote.
“The future is ours, and it is our children who are going to have to live with our consequences,” LaMontagne said. “The older generation made their choices, and we now have to make our choices for generations to follow.”