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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Be counted, fill out your census

Published: April 9, 2010
Section: Editorials

Beginning this week, Community Advisers will be distributing forms for the United States census to students across campus. Federal guidelines say that since Brandeis students live in Massachusetts the majority of the year, they will fill out the national count here.

We cannot stress how important it is for students to fill out the census form completely and on time. For Bay Staters, the all-important numbers will be used for allocating electoral votes and congressional representatives, one of which Massachusetts is in danger of losing. If you live in this state, he or she should encourage everyone they know to fill out the survey to ensure the weight on national level and number of envoys to Congress.

But even if you live elsewhere, filling out the census is important. You are not able to fill out the census in your home state, which means this is your chance to be counted. Massachusetts uses population figures to determine funding for its counties, the creation of new programs for the poor and many other grants and services for students and others. If Massachusetts is fairly represented, Brandeis will be better able to thrive.

This includes all of the questions on the form, including racial designations, age and if you choose, religion or faith. Ethnicity and age are used for vital programs for underrepresented populations or minorities that help keep our fellow citizens from the brink. Funding for children struggling in school, the counties whose schools receive extra federal attention and which cities get supplies for emergencies all fall under the census’ demographic information.

Like voting, participating in the census is your civic duty and will be a benefit to us all in the name of a fair democracy. The system of government based on equal voices needs fair numbers.

Plus, filling out the census form could not be more “Brandeis.” Why come to learn and become a scholar, trying to make a difference, if we lose our national frame of reference? The census is chiefly used to forever back up studies, experiments and works of scholarship. Brandeisians should get their forms in to the school and themselves counted and heard.