FSU Senior has Registered Over 1,100 Voters – GDN Exclusive, Vol. II, Part XXVby Cash Michaels, GDN Contributing Writer October 23, 2019
Since she’s been a Bronco at Fayetteville State University (FSU), senior Kristian Carlyle, 21, says she’s registered well over 1,000 residents in the community surrounding the FSU campus, and at least 100 FSU students, to vote.
So, when the Upper Marlboro, Md. native heard about “A Call to Colors,” she was interested.
Carlyle proudly talks of civic engagement activity during her previous years, including two “Civic 101” events to help students understand the process of how enacting legislation works, and the importance of local government and its impact on their lives.
And Carlyle has also been outspoken in her advocacy to keep the Smith Recreation Center near Fayetteville State University open as an early voting site for the 2020 elections. The Cumberland County Board of Elections considered eliminating the site in recent years, and Carlyle was among the many FSU students who rallied to have that decision reversed.
“Smith is the closest voting site we have to campus that’s within walking distance,” Carlyle told Greater Diversity News (GDN).
In a Commoncause.org online video, Kristian Carlyle is seen being interviewed as an FSU sophomore about keeping the Smith Rec Center as an early voting site.
“The percentage of African-Americans early voting is higher than those coming out on Election Day,” a younger Carlyle is seen saying in the video. “So, I feel that it’s very important that we keep it open because it’s at the center of our community.”
The stakes are even higher now, she says.
“Unfortunately [for] 2020, [Smith] is under attack again,” Carlyle says. “We don’t know whether it will be open for voting or not. But it’s an ongoing fight.”
Carlyle says during the summer months while at FSU, she’s gone through the immediate neighborhood, knocking on doors and canvassing in her voter registration efforts, working with Common Cause, Democracy NC and other nonpartisan civic groups.
“Of course, it takes a team to get any of this stuff done,” she told GDN. “I’m studying political science now, but it just became a passion.”
When Carlyle first moved to the Murchison Road community around FSU as an out-of-state student, she took note of persistent problems there, one of them being a food desert.
“Voting is at the root of all of that,” she says. “If you don’t vote for your commissioners; if you don’t vote for your city council member for that area, then those problems can’t be fixed, or will continue to be ignored.”
When Kristian Carlyle graduates FSU with a degree in political science, she doesn’t see herself running for public office, she says, but she plans to work on public policy that helps underserved populations, like affordable housing.
“The whole premise of [solving] generational poverty is sort of my passion,’ she says. Carlyle also admits that it’s hard to find other students who share her dedication and devotion to civic engagement, something that’s on her mind because she will be graduating soon.
“I still don’t have the answer to that…how to make people interested in something we all should take heed to,” Carlyle said, understanding that “A Call to Colors,” and its strategy of employing not only student groups on HBCU and predominantly white campuses, along with Divine Nine and alumni chapters, faith-based institutions, the NAACP and other community-based organizations, can be an effective way for FSU students who follow Carlyle to engage both students and the community in voter registration, education and mobilization.
‘That’s cool,” Kristian Carlyle said.