Census STEM Family Fun Day

One of the most recent projects I have been working on is leading 2020 Census outreach efforts in my community. Getting an accurate count of all of our residents is crucial to our funding for the next ten years (the Chicago Urban League estimates that each member of the population counted is worth approx $18,000 over the decade to a municipality), but also influences infrastructure investments and business decisions.

At an early point, we realized if a resident is unlikely to complete the Census, they’re also unlikely to go to an event that’s entirely Census themed. In the words of the Planetary Society – “Science is Universal.” Science has the power to excite, engage, and unite in a way that nothing else does. So why not harness that power to get people thinking about the Census?

Image result for science is universal
Doesn’t Bill look good in his sweater?

I’ve been lucky to work on a Complete Count Committee that has generated a ton of great ideas, and the one I might be most excited about is our Census Family Fun Day. Check out the press release below!

Woodridge Complete Count Committee to Support 2020 Census with a STEM Family Fun Day

• The Village is committed to outreach to support a complete count in the 2020 U.S Census
• This free event is on Saturday, March 21, 2020 at William F. Murphy School, 7700 Larchwood Lane, Woodridge, IL, 60517
• Speakers and activities include Congressman Bill Foster, NASA Solar System Ambassadors, Argonne National Labs, CMAP, and more
• Census info & event registration at http://www.woodridgecounts.us

WOODRIDGE, Ill., February 3, 2020: The Village of Woodridge’s Complete Count Committee is hosting a Census STEM Family Fun Day – a free event aimed at all age groups to promote awareness of the 2020 U.S. Census. The objective of the event is to teach residents how being counted in the Census helps their community, and the possibilities of a career in science, technology, engineering or math (STEM). The public is invited to attend this event on Saturday, March 21, 2020, at William F. Murphy School, 7700 Larchwood Lane in Woodridge.

Rep. Bill Foster will be attending the STEM Family Fun Day, and speaking about careers in STEM and the importance of the Census. He said, “I am looking forward to attending Woodridge’s 2020 Census STEM Family Day. It cannot be overstated just how important an accurate count in the 2020 Census is to ensure Illinois gets fair funding and I am proud of the work the Village of Woodridge is doing to ensure every person is counted in the 2020 Census.”

The event features speakers & exhibits that include representatives from:
• The U.S. Census Bureau
• Chicago Metropolitan Planning Agency (CMAP), who will be running activities that will teach residents about how people use Census data to make long term planning and funding decisions in the area.
• Argonne National Laboratory
• NASA -JPL’s Solar System Ambassador Volunteer Program, who will be speaking about everything NASA will be doing in 2020, including the launch of a brand new Mars rover, and demonstrating scale models of spacecraft provided by NASA’s Glenn Research Centre in Ohio.
• College of DuPage
• DuPage Children’s Museum
• Local businesses will be invited to talk about career pathways for those interested in STEM.

“With the Census being the single largest data gathering operation in the U.S., the Village’s committee felt it was a great opportunity to get our residents excited about how much impact that data has on their day-to-day lives,” said Phil Green, Village Planner & Chair of the Village’s Complete Count Committee. “The U.S. Census Bureau asked local groups nationwide to create strategies that reach communities that typically may not respond to the Census, and so we felt math & science is a universal language that can encourage those who may not normally get involved in government activities.”

“We feel it’s so important for all of our residents to be counted,” said Woodridge Mayor Gina Cunningham. “The Census impacts everything that happens in our community, from vital funding for infrastructure projects, to businesses making decisions about whether or not to invest in Woodridge. We want all of our residents to feel safe and empowered to respond to the Census, and to know that doing so really helps their community out.”

The Woodridge Complete Count Committee consists of representatives from the Village, Woodridge Park District, Woodridge Public Library, Woodridge School District #68, and community groups that are committed to being trusted voices within their community, promoting the value and importance of the 2020 Census, as well as providing opportunities to answer questions about the Census for those who may need additional support. The Committee uses http://www.woodridgecounts.us to update residents with important Census information, and to handle registration for the STEM event.

The State of Illinois has provided grant funding through the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus to provide food and drinks at this event. The Complete Count Committee will host several events leading up to the Census, including Senior Days, cybersecurity information sessions, and helpdesks with internet access for those who may not be able to independently respond to the Census. For the first time, people will be able to respond to the Census online, by phone, or by mail, and the Village of Woodridge, through the Complete Count Committee, will be supporting the Bureau in making sure residents know the value of responding to the Census.

The Solar System Ambassadors Program of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory offers information and excitement about real missions that explore our solar system. Volunteer ambassadors in communities throughout the country are selected by JPL based on their backgrounds and on their plans for public outreach activities. JPL provides ambassadors with educational materials and training. However, the opinions of Ambassadors are not necessarily those of NASA or JPL. Further information about the Solar System Ambassadors Program is available at http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/ambassador. JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, California.


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