California Complete Count Committee, the official entity that partnered with the U.S. Census Bureau for Census 2010, is exploring outreach strategies to count all University of California students by spring.
Questionnaires will be delivered to those who live off campus between Mar. 15 and 17 and are due Apr. 1, while students who live in the residence halls will receive theirs in mid-April to be turned in mid-May.
The survey gathers information about the number of residents in each household as well as their name, gender, age, race, date of birth, telephone number, and relationship to the owner or renter of the residence.
The CCCC hosted a conference call with UC representatives and media on Feb. 11 to discuss options for mobilizing students to fill out census forms.
Vice president of UC Student Affairs, Judy Sakaki, said the census is important for funding of college towns.
“Our goal is to get more students counted,” Sakaki said. “Having more federal funds means more money for research, grants, loans and fair market rents.”
Every year the federal government distributes more than $400 billion to local, state and tribal governments based on this census data. California could potentially lose one of its 53 seats in Congress for the first time in its history if the population is not counted accurately, said Ditas Katague, director of Census 2010 for the Office of the Governor.
During the 2000 census students were undercounted because many did not turn in their forms.
Sakaki said some schools have already begun outreach, such as UC Irvine and UCLA. Marty Takimoto, director of marketing and communications at UC Berkeley, is organizing activities to make sure there is an accurate population count of UC Berkeley students.
Takimoto said of 2,000 people who lived on one city block of Berkeley, only six completed their census forms.
UCB is setting up drop-off places on campus for forms and holding a raffle for prizes to students who return their census information.
“We will have three days to focus on getting students to turn in their forms because if we don’t get students to fill them out right away, they probably won’t do it,” Takimoto said. “The city and university will not get as much federal funding if the population is undercounted.”
Statewide education manager Regina Wilson for Census 2010 said several campuses are using the opportunity to talk about community infrastructure on and off campus.
The Census Bureau sends door-to-door interviewers to homes if residents do not turn in their forms. Data is less accurate from these interviews, so it is important that people are encouraged to return their information early on.
Louis Stewart, deputy director for Outreach and Operations for Census 2010, said the bureau is working on a comprehensive social media strategy, with Public Service Announcements, giveaways to schools that have events on campus, commercials and a website.
The state is having a statewide census day with public events on Mar. 20, but there is no set UC-wide census day due to time conflicts between the semester and quarter systems.
The CSU system is having campuswide census days from Mar. 17 to 19.
For more information on the 2010 Census visit californiacompletecount.org or census2010.gov.
ANGELA SWARTZ can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org.