Originally published: Nov. 12, 10:11 a.m.
Updated: Nov. 14, 2011, 9:22 a.m.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Students from colleges and universities across the state were a significant portion of attendees at the Equality North Carolina Conference and Gala on Nov. 12. Student leaders said their involvement will be a key component in the campaigns against the state’s anti-LGBT constitutional amendment on marriage, civil unions and domestic partnerships for same-sex couples.

Students from Western Carolina University, UNC, UNC-Asheville and Davidson College speak to other students.
At a breakout session for young people, student leaders involved with Equality North Carolina’s Student Ambassador Program outlined ways students can get active on their campuses and get other students rallied for change. Canvassing, voter registration, public awareness and phone banking are strategic activities for helping to defeat the amendment, they said.

“It is important to start a conversation with individuals who are registered out of state and who would vote against the amendment if they were registered here,” said one student leader from Western Carolina University. “I have friends who have changed their registration just so they can vote against the amendment in May.”

One student suggested doing voter registration canvassing in college dorms.

“Especially if anybody is from a smaller school, you can go literally door-to-door in the dorms,” said the Davidson College student.

Off-campus organizing is also important, the students said. Students at the University of North Carolina-Asheville said they had organized events at community coffee shops and other spaces.

“Especially in Asheville, the community likes to be involved,” a student remarked.

Equality North Carolina officials estimated that about 150 students participated in the conference, out of a total of more than 400 attendees.

The anti-LGBT constitutional amendment will be considered by voters on May 8, 2012. Equality North Carolina is focusing heavily on the amendment at their conference and gala today. An official launch to their anti-amendment campaigns are expected within the next few days, with a major roll-out planned in the next couple months.

Matt Comer previously served as editor from October 2007 through August 2015 and as a staff writer afterward in 2016.