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Community members push 2020 College Census Challenge

Raven Brown
Updated: June 29, 2020 07:41 AM
Created: June 28, 2020 05:37 PM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — With the huge impact of coronavirus, the 2020 Census has been put on the backburner for many states. 

“Preparation for 10 years for the U.S Census was an extreme undertaking, and when COVID-19 hit we instantly had to make adjustments just like the rest of the world,” Causewave Community Partners Program Manager Rashad Smith says.

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Smith said with everything going on, it's more important now than ever to get Census numbers up. According to the 2020 US Census website, in the state of New York 57.1% have reported and in Rochester 47.3% have responded, falling behind both Buffalo and Syracuse. Both of those cities are around 49%. 

“We do fall behind by some percentage points. [and] I think for Rochester and probably the rest of the nation there's a focus on the black community, Latin-X community, new Americans as well as college students,” Smith says.

The census counts every single living person in the U.S., but often times young people are undercounted because some adults may not realize that babies and young children as well as those in mixed or joint custody families are supposed to be included. That’s why Smith said he's leading the 2020 Census College Count Challenge.

“They will simply create a video on their cell phone. It could be anywhere from 30 seconds to two minutes long the post it on their own social media use hashtags ‘2020 Census’ and ‘College Count Challenge,'" says Smith. 

After that they could win $300 grand prize and $200 runner up prize.

“It provides funding for the Pell grant, for summer lunch programs, for the breakfast programs,” RIT graduate student Miles Hood says. “Stuff that I used as a kid growing up, so I felt like it was my duty to represent my piece of the nation.”

Hood said he wants all students to get involved in the video challenge to make sure everyone's voice gets heard. 

“When they want to allocate these funds, they need to know who's living where and doing what, and it's important that everyone has a say and a voice so that they can have the change that they want to see,” Hood says.

Because of the impact of COVID-19, the deadline for the census has been extended to Oct. 31.

As for the challenge, winners will be announced on Tuesday at 7 p.m. on @causewave on Instagram.

To participate send an email to contest@causewave.org and include your name, phone number, name of your college, as well as an attachment or link to your video. 


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