August 14, 2019

SUNY Empire State College to Open its Dozens of Computer Labs Across the State to the Public for the 2020 Census

For the First Time, Census Conducted using Online Questionnaire

Initiative Will Help Residents with Limited Internet Access Complete New Online Questionnaire

Woman seated in front of a computer in a lab, looks at the camera.
SUNY Empire State College will open available computer labs at the college’s more than 30 locations all across New York state.

(SARATOGA SPRINGS, New York – Aug. 14, 2019) To help ensure an accurate, complete count in the 2020 census, SUNY Empire State College will open available computer labs at the college’s more than 30 locations all across New York state.

For the first time, the 2020 census will be conducted through an online questionnaire. This change in process may present significant obstacles for many residents who may have limited internet access or limited experience with digital interfaces.

One of the cornerstones of American democracy, a complete and accurate count of every resident in New York state will help ensure fair representation in federal government and equitable funding from federal programs, particularly to communities most in need.

“We have the ability and, more importantly, the responsibility, to help ensure our neighbors are counted in this vital constitutional process,” said Jim Malatras, president of the college. “Since, for the first time, the census will largely be completed online, we’ll be opening computer labs in all our locations throughout the state to help our neighbors fill out the census. With locations across New York, faculty and staff with strong community connections, and a great deal of digital know-how, SUNY Empire State College is uniquely positioned to help make this census as successful as possible.”

New York Secretary of State Rossana Rosado said, “The New York State Complete Count Commission has toured New York state to hear directly from hard-to-count populations on the challenges they face in participating in the 2020 census. A common refrain from all corners of the state has been access to broadband internet and technology. SUNY Empire State College’s commitment to making computer labs available to the public across New York is a critical step in getting to a full count of all New Yorkers in the 2020 census. I applaud President Malatras and the entire SUNY Empire State College team for opening their doors to help all New Yorkers participate in this vitally important process for our state and our nation.”

“Participation in the 2020 census is one of our most important civic responsibilities,” said Associate Professor Anastasia Pratt, chair of the Empire State College Senate. “Through opening our computer labs, and offering help to our neighbors, we will make a real difference in our world. Community service is a cornerstone of the college’s mission, and I look forward to volunteering in my own region to help my neighbors step forward and be counted in the 2020 census.”

Student Nakesha Vines, a member of the college’s Student Affairs Committee and the committee’s representative on the Empire State College Alumni Student Board of Governors, said, “Community engagement and participation in our democracy are important, vital components of a SUNY Empire education. Providing access and assistance to those residents throughout the state who need it is very important. Empire State College is proud to take part in this initiative.”

“We are proud to collaborate with the college on this important initiative,” said United University Professions Empire State College Chapter President Pamela Malone. “Our members are excited to be involved, and I am looking forward to engaging with other members of the labor movement to help ensure its success.”

Patricia Swann, senior program officer at New York Community Trust, and chair of the New York State Census Equity Fund, said, "This commitment by Empire State College is a great example of how the state can channel non-financial resources, in addition to much-needed funding, toward the challenge of counting every New Yorker for census 2020."

The census is a constitutional requirement to count every resident in the United States every 10 years. It forms the basis for reapportioning congressional seats, redistricting, and the distribution of federal funds to support housing, education, transportation, employment, health care, and other vital services.

More information about the locations and hours of SUNY Empire’s census hubs will be released in the near future.

About SUNY Empire State College

SUNY Empire State College educates more than 17,000 students in person, online, and through a blend of both, at more than 30 locations in New York and at eight international sites worldwide. Together with one of SUNY Empire’s more than 1,300 faculty mentors, each student designs their own individualized pathway to a college degree that accommodates their schedule and awards credit for prior college-level learning. SUNY Empire awards more than 3,000 degrees annually and 94 percent of graduates stay in New York state. Today, more than 87,000 SUNY Empire alumni are entrepreneurs, veterans, and active members of the military, professional athletes, teachers, medical professionals, and leaders in their field, as well as in their communities. To learn more, visit www.esc.edu and follow the college on social media @SUNYEmpire.

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