STILLWATER — City and university leaders are urging Oklahoma State University students to fill out 2010 census forms. Traditionally, many students don’t fill out the forms, even though they are required by law. But being counted matters, OSU President Burns Hargis said, because a larger city population will attract more federal and state funding, along with more interest from national retailers and restaurants. "We’re trying to advise them that even though they probably think of home as some other place, if they live the majority of their time here, this is their place of residence,” he said. Student compliance with the census count is expected to help Stillwater document 50,000 residents, instead of the 39,000 recorded a decade ago. About 22,000 students attend OSU. "That’s the goal. The students will put it over the top,” Hargis said. OSU, the Stillwater Chamber of Commerce and city of Stillwater are promoting the census through an education campaign called Count Stillwater. Forms will be mailed to Stillwater residents starting next week. "There’s an all-out push,” Hargis said. "We are joined at the hip, Stillwater and OSU. What’s good for one is good for the other.” Student leaders are visiting residence halls, student organizations and Greek houses to urge compliance. A census help desk is planned in the OSU Student Union. Senior Leah Roper tells fellow students that the form is only 10 questions and takes just 10 minutes. They should fill it out because it will help future students most. "Even though we are transitory, someone will take our place when we are gone,” she said. "We are a small town now, but hitting 50,000 would put us on a different list.” Patty Evans, special projects planner for the city of Stillwater, said reaching 50,000 population would be a milestone. "We have been undercounted historically because of students not knowing they should be counted here in Stillwater,” she said.
To learn moreFor more information, go to www.countstillwater2010.org.