Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Monday, April 5, 2010

Census promotion on Diag, North Campus includes giveaways, information

University leaders involved in communicating about the 2010 U.S. census are invoking the names of Ohio State and Michigan State, hoping U-M students will try to outpace these rival schools in responding to the decennial count of the nation’s population.

“Student neighborhoods typically have low participation rates because students are not always aware that they are responsible for filling out their census forms. We want U-M to compare favorably to Ohio State and Michigan State,” says Lisa Neidert, senior research associate with the Institute for Social Research’s Population Studies Center.

To encourage students to fill out forms so the community can fully benefit from accurate representation, U.S. Census Bureau staff on Wednesday will present free giveaways on the Diag and on North Campus.

Banners and red tablecloths will signal the location of census information tables, where shirts, hats and bags will be available to participating students — all in hopes of making sure the university student population is accurately counted.

The event is scheduled for 10 a.m.-3 p.m. on the central area of the Diag and inside Pierpont Commons on North Campus.

Neidert, who co-chairs a university committee promoting accurate student participation in the census, says it is estimated that each person improperly counted represents a potential loss of $10,000-$12,000 to a community over the next decade.

Tarik Green, Detroit Regional Census Center partnership specialist, also stresses that all U-M students should submit census forms. “The only situation when students should not submit a form is when their parents live in Ann Arbor and they’re still living with their parents. Other than that every single student needs to complete it. The motto is ‘Be counted where you live.’”

Green says all university students need to complete their forms, including visiting students from other countries. He adds that there are Questionnaire Assistance Centers that can provide extra forms and help. They are at the Michigan Union, Ginsberg Center, Trotter House and the Central Campus Recreation Building. North Campus centers are the Digital Media Union, Northwood Community Center and the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library.

At the information tables, Green and U.S. Census staff will be on hand to remind students about the count, answer questions and hand out fliers about a census-related program. It takes place from 5-8 p.m. Wednesday at Trotter House. The program will feature a census information forum, entries to a Census 2010 Video Ad contest presented by ISR and a panel presentation.

Neidert says that by Wednesday all U-M students will have received their forms — those that live in rental units as well as those in dorms, sororities and fraternities. “It is really important for everyone to turn in their forms so that their household is not part of the Nonresponse Follow-Up operation,” Neidert continues. “This is the expensive part of the census. It costs the Census Bureau 42 cents per household to enumerate by mail and $56 per household to enumerate in person.

“We also want to help out the Census Bureau. The director, Robert Groves, has strong ties to U-M. He is the former director of the Survey Research Center at the Institute for Social Research. Because of this, we want to help the Census Bureau save money.”

The university also is reinforcing the message for students to complete census forms via e-mails to students and parents and posters. Faculty and staff also have been urged to remind students to return the forms, as well as complete their own.

U-M’s official census site is www.vpcomm.umich.edu/issues/census.html.