Elizabethtown College was recently recognized by the U.S. Census Bureau as an invaluable member of the Census Community Partnership and Engagement Program (CPEP) for our 100-percent compliance with the 2020 U.S. Census.

Staff from Etown’s Center for Community and Civic Engagement (CCCE) and Office of Community Living worked closely with the local Census field offices to ensure that all students, both traditional and School of Continuing and Professional Studies, were counted in the 2020 decennial census.

CPEP’s mission is to enroll community partners to help increase participation in the census by those who are less likely to respond or are often missed by using what the Census calls the 3 E’s: Educate, Encourage, and Engage. The program works to educate people about the 2020 Census and foster cooperation, encourage community partners to motivate people to respond, and engage grassroots organizations to reach out to hard to count groups and those who aren’t motivated to respond to the national campaign.

Director of Community Living Jenn Crowder worked with Sharon Sherick and other staff from the Center for Community and Civic Engagement (CCCE) to organize the College’s efforts to ensure students could easily participate in the 2020 Census. Crowder said that the pandemic presented the team with new challenges this year.

“With COVID 19 arriving in the midst of our decennial counting for Etown, it was really hard to keep the communication from getting lost in the shuffle of changes and adapting to the pandemic,” said Crowder. “However, we did it and made sure all students were accounted for in the 2020 Census.”

In addition to the decennial census reports, Etown works regularly with the local field office on census data for Group Living Quarters, which includes all on-campus housing. Once the College is selected, Crowder works with Charles Mandeval, a field worker with the U.S. Census, to randomly select 10 students from that community to complete the Group Living Quarters survey. This academic year alone, Etown has been selected for the Hackman Apartments and twice for Ober Hall.

Crowder says participating in the Census Community Partnership and Engagement Program is another way for Etown to align its values with behaviors.

“We are committed to service, and completing the decennial census is a service to ensure that our communities receive the proper funding moving forward,” she said.