Students urged to take census

Story by Taylor Kuether

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The U.S. Census is being conducted in 2010, and all UW-Eau Claire students are encouraged to fill out and return the 10-question questionnaire between April 1 and May 15.

Right now, the campus and a few key officials are primarily concerned with encouraging all students to fill out the Census questionnaire.

“We will be exhausting every possible venue of campus advertising,” sophomore and co-chair of the Complete Count Committee Katelyn Kufahl said. “The internet is a tool that wasn’t nearly so widely used in Census 2000, so I am hoping to pursue that avenue as much as possible.”

Other plans are the use of campus TVs, the university News Bureau, campus-wide email, a form station in the library, a sheet hanging on the veranda, a sign on the Service Center wire, table info stations, various glass showcases, table tents, announcements in classes and at UAC events, trailers in the film series showings, chalking and door-dropped literature.

The Census 2010 Complete Count Committee formed back in September to promote participation and connect with difficult-to-reach demographics such as Mexicans, Hmongs, Amish and the elderly, Kufahl said.

Freshman Anna Turriff said she is interested in the upcoming census.

“I find the idea of counting everybody in the United States extremely ambitious and just exciting, and to be able to be a part of that and be counted as an adult American citizen is really cool,” Turriff said.

Jodi Thesing-Ritter, associate dean of students and co-chair of the Complete Count Committee, said the census is important because it is a part of our duty as a citizen.

“Completing the Census form is a form of civic engagement. We hope students will participate in the activities that make them fully engaged citizens,” Thesing-Ritter said. “If you don’t fully engage in your community and government, the people who do will have the power.”

Because financial need is assessed by population, the census also helps to determine how much government funding each area receives. But the Complete Count Committee feels there are greater reasons for completing the Census form than simply providing an accurate head count for the city of Eau Claire.

“College should not be regarded exclusively as an expensive adventure in job training, but rather as a time to expand your own horizons, become mindful of the world around you and learn what it means to grow up,” Kufahl said.

Students can see advertising for Census participation in the coming months and are strongly encouraged to complete and return the questionnaire during the month-and-a-half-long window beginning in early April. Not only will the 2010 Census provide an accurate count of people residing in the United States and allow Eau Claire to receive an appropriate amount of government funding, but it will enable students to feel like actively involved American citizens, the committee said.

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