As Election Day approaches, Mason student leaders are making sure everyone is honoring their civic duty and registering to vote. Last week, several organizations hosted an event for the upcoming election.

On Monday, Sept. 24, the members of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Student Government, Mason Votes and the Lead Office came together to conduct a voter’s forum for the student body. Entitled Kritical Konversation, the event took place in the Johnson Center atrium.

Some of the topics discussed were the state of the country, the importance of voting, the candidates’ policies and voter registration laws. In attendance were Sarah Cioce, Assistant Director of the City of Manassas and Richard Mattox, former Congressional Press Secretary and current adjunct professor at Mason.

Robert Hiter, senior communication major and member of Kappa Alpha Psi was one of the main people in charge of the forum.

He discussed the purpose of the event and why it was so important to students, especially those who fall between the ages of 18-20— what is referred to as the millennial generation.  Students should encourage each other to vote because they make up 24 percent of the voting age population, he said.

“I think that was one of the biggest things that motivated us to meet up with Mason Votes, Student Government and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority and get something like this done; to inform students about, you know, what’s really going on and how it’s their civic obligation to make an impact,” Hiter said.

This knowledge and encouragement is all a part of what Hiter terms as dismantling the barriers to voting.

“We want to be able to first start breaking that barrier by just [giving] them knowledge on what it means to be an American and what you have to do after that. [This] means going out to vote, going out to register and going out to encourage others to do the same,” he said.

Hiter said that the host organizations chose the Johnson Center atrium in order to reach people that they would not normally come into contact with on a daily basis. If they felt so intrigued walking by, they could join in on the conversation. Overall, Hiter believed the event’s expectations were met, but the task is not quite completed.

“I do think that we still have a lot of work to do when it comes to making sure that everyone gets to the polling booths on Nov. 6,” he said. “So, you know, just being able to use this as a launching point, or starting point, was really beneficial.”

Senior government and international politics major Timothy Moorehead believed the conversation was a bit one-sided. There was only one open Romney supporter, which did not balance out the discussion, he noted.

As a veteran voter, Moorehead is looking forward to voicing his concerns for a second national election.

“It means you have something to say,” he said.

He commented on how some people do not know that they are voting for the courts and other facets of government during presidential elections.

“You are the government,” Moorehead said.

Other students took part in the conversation and had wise insight as well. Some of the advice given was to not be influenced by the views of peers when deciding who to vote for and to remember to research the congressional candidates in each district.

To close out the conversation, Cioce presented the fact that there are a total of  five names on the presidential ballot, not just Obama and Romney.

For individuals who are on the fence about the election, she suggested going to in order to see whose policies and ideologies are the best match for them.