CPP helps spread census info at UH
In an effort to tackle the undercounting of students that occurred in the 2000 Census, the UH Center for Public Policy said it will organize and host a number of campus and community events centered on getting the 2010 count accurate.
CPP executive administrative assistant Mike Angel is spearheading the month-long effort to aid the efforts of the U.S. Census Bureau, which, according to a CPP press release, is the census’ “largest civic outreach and awareness campaign in U.S. history.”
“We believe many students were undercounted in the last census, so we decided that we definitely wanted to have the Census on campus,” Angel said. “(We need) to spread the word, and get more students to be aware of the importance of the census and to complete the forms.”
Census data gathered in the next two months will not only determine the number of representatives each state will send to Congress, but also determine how the federal government allocates $300 billion for the 50 states.
The data will also determine how the government plans projects for new roads, hospitals and schools, as well as private-sector construction of supermarkets and housing. Most important to students and the academic community, census data will determine how much money UH will receive for financial aid and provide valuable information for academic purposes.
The CPP is partnering with the “ya es hora, ¡HAGASE CONTAR!” campaign, a national effort that works to increase Latino participation in the census, to help get the word out to students.
“A lot of times, the students think, ‘Oh my parents will complete the census,’ which is true if, for instance, the student lives with their parents,” Angel said. “But for students who live on campus, they will get their own census form in their dorm rooms in April — and a lot of students are not aware of that, and sometimes they fall through the cracks.”
Unlike the general population, including off-campus students, which have already received the form and must return it by April 1, the Census Bureau counts students who live on campus in a different manner.
According to a “Census on Campus” flier, “college dormitories, residence halls, fraternities and sororities are considered Group Quarters and will be counted during Group Quarters Enumeration between April 1 and May 21, 2010.” The form also says that census takers coordinate with Residence Life and Housing Staff to distribute and collect forms.
“UH is responsible for making sure that their students who live on campus complete their forms,” Angel said.
All students, including those who are not U.S. citizens and those with student visas, are also to be counted. As the flier states, “If you live and sleep in the U.S. most of the year, you will be counted.”
CPP has utilized information centers that hands out fliers and gives away T-shirts, footballs and flying disks in an effort to advertise the census.
“As an information center, we are not authorized to help people fill out the forms, because you have to be sworn in to do that,” Angel said. “So we (can) only distribute information and lead people to the right sources.”
Authorized representatives from the census will be available to answer questions and help students complete forms through April 22. Tables will be set up at the University Center and the UC Satellite on varying days throughout the month.
Students can visit the CPP’s “Census 2010 Outreach Projects at UH & UHD” page (www.uh.edu/epp/censusoutreach.htm) for specific location dates and times. Upcoming events and opportunities to volunteer and help get UH counted are also listed.