The naysayers said you would never show up. You proved them wrong. About 23 million people ages 18-29 cast ballots in the 2008 election, second only to the 1972 presidential election, the first year the law allowed 18-year-olds to vote. The youth vote helped carry Barack Obama to the presidency, but don’t let your enthusiasm end there.

This year’s Annual Manual is devoted to campus activism. Whether you’re on the left, the right or somewhere in the middle, you should be concerned, as Sam Wardle reports, that your right to free speech is being curtailed when you’re corralled in a “free speech zone.”

Our college interns, Matthew McGibney and Shanae Auguste, also contributed stories, about UNC-CH’s Peace, War and Defense major, social entrepreneurship and green campuses. While North Carolina stubbornly refuses to recognize same-sex marriages or civil unions, LGBT centers on area campuses serve as sanctuaries for gays, lesbians, transgendered people and their straight allies. If you live in Durham, Chapel Hill or Carrboro, know that your elected officials have voted, however symbolically, to recognize same-sex marriage. These towns also provide domestic partner benefits.

You’ll also find resource guides to activism groups. And after seven years, our editorial cartoonist, V. Cullum Rogers, finally got to draw his satirical campus map.

Online extras

Just because you’re an activist doesn’t mean you have to dress like a slob. Shanae Auguste gives you the lowdown on where to buy clothes and accessories, whether you’re demonstrating against right-wing zealots or you are a right-wing zealot.

Local elections aren’t just for locals. Learn about where to register to vote in your new town and the candidates and races in upcoming elections in our Elections section.