The event was part of a national campaign to support the Census, a population count of everyone in the United States. Public relations students encouraged the campus community to participate in the revamped 10-question, less-than-10-minute survey, which will begin in March.
Chancellor Richard H. Wells, Vice Chancellor Petra Roter and Oshkosh Mayor Paul Esslinger made appearances at the event, at which students signed their name in pledge to complete their 2010 U.S. Census forms. The pledge also is available online: www.petitionspot.com/petitions/OshkoshCensus.
In leading the campus effort to raise awareness of the importance of the U.S. Census, students are currently executing their “Get Engaged” communications campaign, an assignment for their 14-week research effort that also included student focus groups and a campus-wide survey.
“Our research found that students have misconceptions about the U.S. Census, and we are addressing those specific issues in our campaign,” said Patrick Terry, senior public relations major working on the campaign. “Census data is used to determine a lot more than just population, and that’s a big part of the message we’re pushing.”
Data from the Census is used to determine how more than $400 billion in federal funding is allocated to local communities and the number of seats each state receives in the House of Representatives.
In dormitories, community advisers will be responsible for distributing and collecting U.S. Census forms from their residents; for students living off campus, roommates are required to complete one form encompassing all residents.
“When in doubt, the residence where students live the majority of the year is where they should complete their form,” said Jessica Gordon, a UW Oshkosh senior public relations major working on the project.
The campaign is part of the National Bateman Case Study competition sponsored by the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), a real-world experience for UW Oshkosh students in Julie Henderson’s “Public Relations 455” course.