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Filling Out 2020 United States Census In State College An Easy Way To Give Back To Penn State

If there’s one thing Penn Staters love, it’s giving back the university that was a part of their lives in one way or another.

Some do it through monetary donations and financial gifts. Others do it by raising a house full of Nittany Lions and sending them off to the same stomping grounds mom and dad used to call home once they’re ready for college.

However, this spring, there’s an incredibly easy way for current Penn State students to repay the university for everything its given them: filling out the 2020 United States Census.

Look, I know what you’re thinking. “How on Earth could filling out some little ol’ document actually help Penn State in the long run? Isn’t it just for counting people?”

Well, yeah. The census, which has been conducted every 10 years since 1790, is an official count of each and every citizen of the United States. The form asks participants to list demographic information such as race, sex, and gender, to formulate accurate statistics for the country.

The numbers retrieved by each count are also used to determine how many seats each state receives in the House of Representatives as well as representation in Pennsylvania’s House of Representatives and Senate. These lines are only redrawn every 10 years, so retrieving an accurate count is of utmost importance in order to correctly represent constituents across the country.

Last but not least, the census shapes how federal and state funding is allocated across the country. Policymakers utilize census data to determine how to designate funds to local, state, and federal governments and fund nearly $1.5 trillion to programs including Medicaid and Head Start. If folks don’t participate and an undercount occurs, these initiatives could become underfunded.

By filling out the census in State College (read: entering a State College address when prompted), you can give back to Penn State and help leave it in a better place than when you found it.

Although Penn State automatically registers students who live on-campus, those living downtown should consider getting counted within the borough. An increase in funding could help State College launch more programs like the now-canceled Summers On Allen initiative, better support local businesses, and maybe even fix those damn potholes on Atherton.

The borough would also have an easier time planning for the future with accurate census data. Local leaders typically use gathered figures to better understand the needs of their communities and bring about both big and small changes, ranging from updated bus routes to public safety improvements.

No matter what you’re interested in, funding allocated using census data helps to make it a reality. This year’s count will have ramifications that will be felt for years, even decades down the line. Taking 10 minutes out of your day to fill out a form will help shape the future of Happy Valley in more ways than you can believe.

Look, I can’t make you fill out the census in State College. After all, it’s just a document. But if you truly want to give back to Penn State and its surrounding community, do your part and get counted today at my2020census.gov. Future Penn Staters are counting on you!

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About the Author

Matt DiSanto

Matt proudly served as Onward State’s managing editor for two years until graduating from Penn State with distinction in May 2022. Now, he’s off in the real world doing real things. Send him an email ([email protected]) or follow him on Twitter (@mattdisanto_) to stay in touch.

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