What role can colleges and universities play?
Issue: People don’t know why it’s so important
- Develop educational exercises and resources for use in classes
- Consider showing this brief College Student Outreach video
- Dialogue Guide: This guide helps students explore the importance of and issues surrounding how we achieve a complete and accurate census count. It provides informational content, instructions for a simple small group dialogue, and dialogue prompts.
- See Minnesota Higher Education Network’s curricular resources at: https://www.censusedmn.com/curriculum
- Develop community-engaged learning courses incorporating Census-related activities. For example:
- Public Health: Carleton College student project on the Census, with particular attention to how race and ethnicity are addressed on the census forms.
- Cultural Anthropology: Dominican University students in Marin County California analyze the Census website using a Community Context Worksheet to learn more about the community. Each student interviews a member at their community partner organization about his or her knowledge of the census and create a transcript that can be used by community partners for outreach. (Partners: Canal Alliance, Health Hubs, RotaCare, Ritter Center, Coleman Elementary School.)
- Education: Dominican University students create and implement lesson plans in K-8 classes to teach students about the census, what it is, why it is important, and how to talk to their friends and families about it.
- Occupational Therapy: OT students at Dominican University prepare materials focused on training and resources for the drivers/meal delivery volunteers working for San Rafael’s Whistlestop. Whistlestop promotes the independence, well-being and quality of life for older adults and people living with disabilities in Marin County. The objective is to increase the quality of the communication and social interactions between the volunteers and the program members. This will better position the drivers to serve as trusted messengers during the census.
- For Service-Learning classes across the curriculum: Students may focus on collecting and designing messaging and outreach recommendations that trusted messengers can use to increase participation among hard to count (HTC) populations. Students may utilize participatory observation, interviews, and focus groups to develop messaging and outreach strategies. This will provide a substantial pool of information that can inform messaging and outreach at the grassroots organizing level.
- Check out the following resources on the important role of libraries:
- “Keeping Up With… 2020 Census” – a current awareness publication from the Association of College and Research Libraries
- “Academic libraries can make a difference in the 2020 Census” – in College & Research Libraries News
- “Library Programs and Partnerships in the 2020 Census” – recorded webinar, includes a speaker from the California State University, Monterey Bay libraries
- Prepare students as liaisons to their own hard-to-count communities
Issue: People want training
- Develop resources on how the census works
- These resources from the New England Literacy Resource Center include Spanish-language and easy-to-read, and engaging resources designed for ABE, ASE, and ESOL students: https://nelrc.org/stand-up-and-be-counted/census2020/
Issue: Off-campus students
- Develop campus systems and awareness-raising for these groups
- (NOTE: Residential students living on campus can be counted through the Group Quarters Enumeration process: https://www.census.gov/programs-surveys/decennial-census/2018-census-test/test/providence/group-quarters/gqe.html)
Issue: Online completion of the first digital Census
- Leverage campus libraries as places to complete the Census. See “Preparing for the First Digital Census: A Manual for Libraries, CBOs, and Community Advocates” from The New School Digital Equity Laboratory.