March 24, 2020
OGDEN, Utah – A national emergency underscores the critical importance of knowing the community, so while COVID-19 has changed many things, it has not altered Weber State University’s effort to make sure #WildcatsCount in the 2020 Census.
Each individual who is counted brings the community approximately $1,000 in federal assistance per person, per year. The federal government will use the 2020 Census data to distribute $675 billion dollars in funding to hospitals, fire departments, schools, roads and other resources. The census also provides data that lawmakers, government agencies, business owners and others use to provide daily services, products and support for the community.
Groups traditionally undercounted are college-aged students and young children. Weber State can reach both groups, as many students are parents of young children and the university hosts a children’s school and charter kindergarten.
That’s one reason Weber State made the census a priority in 2020 with messages of support from WSU President Brad Mortensen and Student Body President Bret Alexander going out to the campus community.
With a student body of nearly 30,000 students, Wildcats have the chance to bring more than $300,000 to the state of Utah every year for 10 years.
“I know there is a lot of uncertainty right now, but one thing is certain -- your place in history, Alexander said. “The best and easiest part is the versatility to respond to the census on many platforms. I am beyond impressed with Wildcats who have already participated, but will be even more impressed when all Wildcats do. Fill some of your free time with a quick and easy, constitutionally required survey!”
Because university classes currently are being taught online, Weber State is using online resources and social media to remind everyone of the importance of the census. Information, including video messages from students and a link to the census form are available at: weber.edu/2020census.
An invitation to participate online, by phone or by mail, will be sent to all homes in the United States by April 1. This is the first time an online response option will be available, making it easy to complete. The form is available at my2020census.gov.
The census is a civic responsibility mandated by the U.S. Constitution. Weber State University created a Complete Count Committee to ensure the entire WSU population understands the importance of the census and feels empowered to complete it, according to Teresa Martinez, committee chair.
“We created the #WildcatsCount campaign, which provides specific WSU media, to help our WSU community not only see themselves as individuals who do count, but also see they can take their experience completing the census and encourage others to complete it, too,” Martinez said.
The census tracks the current population within the 50 states, the District of Columbia and five U.S. territories. The results also determine the number of congressional seats from each state, as well as how legislative and school districts will be drawn.
“The United States started counting its people in 1790 and hasn’t missed a decade since then,” said Leah Murray, political science professor. “We use this data to know where and who our people are, and we use this history as part of our country's memory. There’s never been a more important year to understand our nation and help our communities. Every person needs to be counted.”
To view this story online, visit this link.
Visit weber.edu/wsutoday for more news about Weber State University.
Teresa Martinez, Center for Community Engaged Learning coordinator 801-626-7737 • firstname.lastname@example.org
Allison Barlow Hess, Public Relations director 801-626-7948 • email@example.com