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Census Representative asks Student Senate to push census awareness

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Student Senate adjourns Wednesday night. Photo by William Meyer.

A representative from the U.S. Census Bureau spoke to Student Senate about the need for better student representation in the upcoming census at the body’s meeting Wednesday night. 

Representative Aaron Dagres said college students have been one of the most underrepresented populations during the administration of the U.S. Census. Students in off-campus housing under-report the population of their household or do not consider themselves eligible for being recorded at their on-campus homes, he said.

Proper census recording is important because data from the census is used to determine funding for programs such as Medicaid, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the National School Lunch Program.

Dagres urged Student Senate to encourage students to participate in the census. He suggested the body create a subcommittee to promote the census and create public service announcements. 

“The goal is to count everyone once, only once, and in the right place,” Dagres said.

Later in the evening, Student Trustees Austin McClain and Justin Kelley recapped information from the Board of Trustees recent meetings.

The Board decided on a name for the new Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine building (HCOM). The building will be named “Heritage Hall” in honor of the Osteopathic Heritage Foundation. The foundation gave HCOM a $105 million grant, which was the primary motive in the building’s naming. 

The trustees also spoke on Ohio University’s sustainability mission. They said the university’s new projected carbon neutrality date is 2050 — 25 years earlier than its original estimate, 2075. Also, the university plans to cut emissions by 50% by the fiscal year 2026. The high cost of sustainability efforts was mentioned as a central concern going forward.

McClain addressed the recent enrollment rates, stating that fall semester enrollment dropped by 5.2%.

“We’re rolling out new program development to encourage students to come,” McClain later said. The student trustees did not elaborate further on these programs.

In other business:

  • Ryan Gwin was appointed to serve as the Resident Life senator for the 2019-2020 academic year. 
  • Avery Fenton was appointed to serve as chairperson of the senate’s budget committee. Isabella Achim was appointed to serve on the senate’s budget committee. 
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