Standing in front of over 100 people, Philadelphia Mayor and Wharton alumnus Michael Nutter proclaimed, “You really do count.”
At a rally Wednesday night in the Lower Quad hosted by seven different student and faculty groups, Mayor Nutter urged all Penn students to complete their census forms, both for the good of Penn and the city as a whole.
“It’s all about resources,” Nutter explained. “About $400 billion from the federal government goes out to cities and states across the country based on census data,” Nutter added.
The 2010 Census will determine how much of those resources are allocated to Philadelphia. Responding to a question about how the census will directly affect Penn, Nutter explained that important services on campus, from improving the streets to maintaining SEPTA and other forms of mass transit, receive funding based on census information.
Beyond the funding the census provides, the data will also help determine the apportionment of members in the House of Representatives from each state as well as the formation of state and local districts. Of the 435 House seats, states like Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Nevada, Texas, Utah and Washington are all expected to gain at least one additional seat.
Because this also changes the number of electoral votes each state has, the census will have ramifications for the 2012 presidential election as well.
“I hope this event will help inform students about the census,” Wharton and College junior and Chairman of the Asian Pacific Student Coalition Rohan Grover said. “I believe Penn will exceed its previous numbers and will be able to count nearly everyone at Penn,” Grover added.
Filling out the census form is quite simple. Mayor Nutter simplified the process down to a simple slogan, “10-10-10”: 10 questions that take 10 minutes to complete with effects that will last for the next 10 years.
Students living on campus will receive the form in their mailbox and should drop it off at the collection boxes by their college house information center. Those living in Greek housing will receive and return forms to their chapter house manager.
College junior and Undergraduate Assembly President-elect Matt Amalfitano explained the role that the UA will play in informing students about the census. “An e-mail alone won’t compel students,” Amalfitano explained. “We’re hoping to take it further, to connect with local student groups. A grassroots campaign is what will compel students to fill out their forms,” Amalfitano added.
According to College Houses and Academic Services Associate Director for Communications Sue Smith, census forms are due nationwide by May 14.
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