The Office of Civic Engagement and Volunteerism will educate Charleston’s community about the 2020 Census during an open forum Thursday evening.
The forum is free and open to anyone in Charleston, including Eastern students. It will be at 6 p.m. at the Charleston Carnegie Public Library.
Beth Gillespie, director of the Office of Civic Engagement and Volunteerism, said the Census count is something many students and adults have limited knowledge about.
When it comes to Eastern students, they need to participate in the 2020 Census.
Crystal Brown, assistant director of the office, said students living on campus do not have to fill out a census form.
“Residence halls, Greek Court, things like that, group homes, prisons, nursing homes—all of those are considered group homes, so sometime in March the state will reach out to whoever oversees those, so like EIU Housing, to find out how many people live in those units,” she said. “Those individuals specifically are students in residence halls and Greek Court (and) will not have to fill out a census because they are already accounted for.”
However, students living off campus in apartments, rental homes, mobile homes and anywhere else off campus will need to participate in the census.
Brown said just one person living in each household needs to complete a form for everyone living in the space.
That means if a student is sharing a living space with one roommate, they both need to figure out who will fill a census and include that there are two people living in the space.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s website, the state sends letters to individuals, and people can complete the form online or by calling in.
The census questionnaire will ask for people’s genders, races and dates of birth, and Gillespie said the information the state collects can only be used for the census.
Alex Marten, senior graduate assistant for the office, said getting accurate numbers from the census is important because it ensures the right amount of representatives get sent to Washington D.C.
If an inaccurate amount is collected from the census, it could have a negative effect on the federal funds, grants and support the state will get, too.
The next free and open informational forum will be on Feb. 5.
Logan Raschke can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected]