UTEP is one of many entities around the Borderland that kicked off its “Census Awareness” initiative on Monday and helped spread the word of how important it is to be counted.
“As students, we need to engage in another type of community activities and raise awareness about our communities so we can try to get all the funding we can,” Senior Karla Martinez told KTSM.
Raising awareness one year ahead, students from different organizations at UTEP joined together to send one message: The importance of having all students participate in the 2020 Census.
“By engaging in this we raise awareness and therefore if more people participate the more our community benefits from resources and participation,” she said.
UTEP hosted a “Census Awareness Kick-Off” event and spread the word on the benefits of being counted such as receiving funds for various programs at the University. They also took on some concerns some students may have.
“This census protects whoever the respondents are. I know there’s a little bit of a stigma as to why the shouldn’t respond but the more respondents we have, the better social services we’ll be able to provide to those vulnerable populations so it’s really important we all get our voices out there,” graduate student Ashley Armendariz shared.
Other fears included having personal information exposed, or feeling unprotected.
“There’s a lot of fear within it because I feel like our community isn’t as inclusive as it should be, and it’s leaning towards there but a lot of individuals are still fearful because of things like laws and things like that. So it’s very important for people out here because they are part of this community,” Freshman Michael Gutierrez said.
These students main message was to encourage others to be a part of the community and help shape its voice for future generations to come.
“Talking to everyone that you know about this is really important because it’s going to affect their lives in some way or another,” UTEP’s Student Government Association President Christian Botello added.
UTEP will also have a “Complete Count Committee” that is student-driven and will keep raising awareness on campus until April 1st of next year.