This spring student leaders from across the state have been working to educate their peers on the importance of the 2020 decennial census, while supporting the greater efforts of the community surrounding their schools of getting a complete and accurate count. They are part of the #NCCensusFellow program facilitated by North Carolina Campus Compact.
The information gathered from the census is critical. Responses impact funding allocation for healthcare, infrastructure and other resources like federal grant and aid programs. Results also decide North Carolina’s number of seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and congressional and legislative districts.
Our fellows have been raising awareness on the census both on campus and virtually. Our #nccensusfellow at Durham Tech, Shelbie, hosted “Coffee, Cupcakes, and Counts,” an event where students enjoyed a fancy coffee drink, cupcakes, rides to the nearest polling location, all while receiving census information. Before spring break, students tabled in high-traffic places such as the cafeteria, student unions, and at basketball games; Winston Salem State University & Fayetteville State University made census announcements during their basketball games. Several fellows also presented census information to their classes and student groups.
Student fellows have had the opportunity to join their school’s local county or city Complete Count Committee and contribute to their community’s efforts to get a complete an accurate account. Love, our fellow from NC A&T, and Lindsey, from UNC-Greensboro, formed a Complete Count Committee on their campus to enhance their outreach efforts. Whether attending a meeting in their community or writing an opinion piece in their school newspaper (read Elon Fellow piece), fellows are enhancing their networking, writing, and presentation skills.
Even before social distancing measures began, Census Fellows were engaging their peers virtually. Fellows have made over 100 social media posts, using the #NCCensusFellow hashtag, with census information, graphics, videos, memes, and Tik Tok Videos. Koichi, our fellow at Central Piedmont Community College, is also hosting Podcasts discussing the actual questions on the census questionnaire.
With social distancing measures in place, Fellows have continued to engage their peers virtually on the census. They have focused especially on students who do not live in on-campus housing and will not be counted as part of the Group Quarters enumeration. They are responsible for completing the census on their own. Love, from NC A&T, organized a virtual event earlier this month to talk about the importance of the census and voting for college students; more than 25 people tuned in to discuss census information and its impacts on colleges students now and beyond.
Julius, Fayetteville State University #NCCensusfellow, is going live on Instagram with Koichi every Wednesday night during the month of April; they have casual conversations while answering friends’ questions on the census!