Over 30 community colleges joined together to develop campus action plans to help their peers learn about the census and support a complete count in Minnesota. A survey by Pew found that 34% of 18-29 year-olds do not plan to fill out the census form this year. In Minnesota, that could mean our community misses out on $2,800 in federal funding that supports our schools, hospitals, and roads. 

South Central College plans to have a white board on campus used to place census pledge cards, write stories about how census affects them, and encourage participation and increase turnout. They also plan to have a meme pledge card competition to raise awareness and advocate for census completion. 

Ridgewater College - Willmar wants the census experience to be as inclusive as possible. In ensuring every community member is counted, these students plan to host events where people already meet and have the census documents translated into languages that may not be readily available, such as Somali and Korean. In hosting events in easy to access locations with literature that everyone can read, this campus is sure to have a large census participation rate!

Rochester Community and Technical College knows that awareness is the number one obstacle in census preparation. These students plan to create an on-campus census committee in charge of spreading awareness and encouraging others to participate. Leading up to Census Day, RCTC plans to table at least once per week in the busiest part of campus. Their presence will remind students to fill out the census, answer any last minute questions they may have, and ultimately have a fun and engaging atmosphere for students as they go to class. 

Minnesota State College Southeast - Red Wing developed plans to engage their large online-only student population. Using an announcement on D2L, the campus' online program, they would announce and encourage students to attend on-campus events focused on the census. One event would be a Donut Day, where students can come eat donuts, learn about the census, and pledge to participate. Students will also have the opportunity to meet with the campus president at Chili with Chad. This will provide resources for the census, applications for census jobs, and a chance to talk to the president about their campus concerns, all while having fun! 

The Competition

All attendees participated in an experiential learning simulation that walked them through a process to develop a campus-based action plan. The game was adapted from Votes and Ballots - a game developed by TurboVote and the Maryland Institute College of Art. Participants had to break down the census planning process into a fun and engaging way. 

Campus-based teams then identified tactics that they must do, should do, and hope to do as a way to prioritize their plans based on time and financial resources. They then put that information on a timeline of what needs to be done during preparation, outreach, and census completion activities. 

At the end of the day, each team had five minutes to pitch their plan to a panel of two sharks. The sharks then scored each team on a set of criteria. 


South Central College
Ridgewater College - Willmar
Rochester Community and Technical College

Runners up

Minnesota State Community and Technical College - Moorhead
Dakota County Technical College
Inver Hills Community College
Normandale Community College
Minnesota State Community and Technical College - Detroit Lakes
Minnesota State Community and Technical College - Fergus Falls
Mesabi Range College - Virginia
Ridgewater College - Hutchinson
Hibbing Community College
Alexandria Technical College
Rainy River Community College
Saint Paul College
Minnesota State College Southeast - Red Wing
Anoka-Ramsey Community College - Cambridge
Minnesota State College Southeast - Winona
Lake Superior College

A Collaboration

This event was a collaboration between the State Demographers Office and Democracy Works. This event would not have been possible without the generous financial support from the Students Learn Students Vote Coalition.