Center for Public Policy Interns Make Sure Houston Counts

Interns Fan Out Across City to Assist in U.S. Census Awareness and Education

Students with the University of Houston Center for Public Policy (CPP) are working on education projects concerning "Census 2010," the awareness campaign of the U.S. Census Bureau, as part of their curriculum this semester. 

The CPP Civic Houston Internship Program (CHIP), which places students in the offices of governmental officials and community organizations, will focus its spring learning project on the census. 

"As researchers, we are interested in promoting the decennial count because it provides us such a rich source of data," said Renée Cross, associate director for the CPP.  "Due to Houston's rapidly changing and growing population, we feel a responsibility in helping to educate our students and members of the greater metropolitan area of just how important the census is to their quality of life."

The U.S. Census Bureau is on an aggressive campaign to encourage more participation in the headcount, particularly in the traditionally hard-to-count populations that include college students, Latinos, African-American males, immigrants and others. 

CPP interns plan a host of events on the main campus and UH-Downtown.  To kick off the campus activities, former Texas Lt. Gov. Bill Hobby will speak to the CHIP interns (Feb. 26) about the importance of the census to Houston and Texas. The interns also will promote census awareness with a presence at campus events such as UH's Frontier Fiesta and UH-D's President Investiture Week.    

Additionally, interns will work with Houston City Councilmember Ed Gonzalez, chair of the Houston Counts volunteer committee, to promote the census throughout the region.  They'll participate in community activities such as translating, block-walking, creating and distributing informational flyers, providing speakers and staffing special events such as the upcoming Lunar New Year Houston celebration.

"The census is mandated by the U.S. Constitution and the accuracy or inaccuracy of its results may have serious implications," said Cross. "For example, the data determine the number of congressional seats each state receives as well as what portion of the estimated $4 billion a state may receive in federal funding for large scale projects such as transportation infrastructure, schools, hospitals, veteran services, and even tuition assistance."

It is anticipated that CHIP interns will spend more than 360 volunteer hours on census projects on campus and throughout Houston this semester.

For more information about the UH Center for Public Policy's Census 2010 outreach efforts, visit