The Public Relations Student Society of America of Cal State Fullerton sponsored â€œRock the Censusâ€ in the Central Quad Monday to create awareness of, and promote, the 2010 census.
Students had the opportunity to rock out to live music by rock/funk band Elizabethan Report while learning how to fill out census forms in accordance to where they live. An official census worker was also available to answer any questions and students were encouraged to sign a banner as a pledge to complete the census and mail it back in April.
Lady McDesmond, Public Relations Senior, was one of the PRSSA members urging students to get involved by signing the banner. McDesmond said that PRSSA members were aiming at informing students about the 2010 census and how it is important to CSUF as a student issue, cultural issue and a political issue.
According to the Census Bureau, the U.S Constitution requires a national census once every 10 years to count the population and determine the number of seats each state will have in the U.S House of Representatives. Census data also helps determine how more than $400 billion in federal funds is distributed each year to states and communities.
Bulmaro Rivera, census partnership assistant for the U.S Census Bureau, was on campus Monday to answer any questions students had about the 2010 census. Rivera said that since the government uses census data to distribute money, it is important that students are aware that this could mean more money coming into schools for things like financial aid and scholarships.
â€œWe are sending out the message that the census is safe, easy and important and everybody counts,â€ Rivera said.
Molly Smith, Public Relations Major and SOAR-CICC representative for the PRSSA, said that since many students were under the wrong impression that the census was just to collect data, most did not want to participate. â€œBut this is not just about collecting information, Smith said. “It is a method of distributing federal funding to most populated areas.”
Smith said that students also needed to know that it did not matter if they were citizens or not; as long as they are residents of the United States, they will be counted. According to the Census Bureau, college students who live with their parents or guardians while attending school in the United States are counted at their parental home, while students who live away from their parental home while attending college are counted at campus or off-campus housing.
â€œIt does not matter if you are a dependent or independent student. Wherever you are living as of April 1, you need to fill your form from that location,â€ Smith said.
Jonathan Barba, public relations senior, said that the Census office has identified the CSUF campus and surrounding areas as hard-to-count communities judging by the low census return rates which were as low as 30-40 percent in 2000. Barba said that this year, the aim was to create more awareness among CSUF students and surrounding communities about the importance of the census.
“Itâ€™s 10 questions, takes 10 minutes and it is so easy, a freshman can do it,â€ Barba said.