Gisele Fetterman Stops at Penn State, Encourages Students to Fill Out Census

Story posted February 21, 2020 in News, CommRadio by Maddie Biertempfel

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Pennsylvania’s second lady Gisele Fetterman stopped at Penn State Wednesday as part of her state-wide tour encouraging people to fill out the census.

“There is power in counting you,” Fetterman said. “There are results in that. There’s assistance in that, there’s support in that.”

Fetterman said that her personal experience as an undocumented immigrant is partly why she thinks the census is so important.

“I was undocumented for almost 15 years,” Fetterman said. “Growing up as a young immigrant, it’s easy to feel kind of invisible and feel that you don’t matter. When I went to school each morning, my mom would say ‘I love you.’ She would give me a kiss, wish me a great day and say ‘Be invisible.’”

Fetterman was joined by three others in a panel discussion focused on the importance of filling out the constitutionally enshrined survey.  

State College Borough communications specialist Douglas Shontz was one of those on stage. He emphasized how the census impacts funding allocation.

“We really need you to be counted so we can provide the services and high level of services that we want to provide you,” Shontz said.

The census is taken every 10 years to count every person living in the United States. The count helps determine how much representation each state or district receives in government and how funding is distributed nationwide.

Panelists also highlighted the importance of Penn State students filling out the census wherever they are on April 1. For many students, that’ll be University Park, not their hometown.

Beginning mid-March, everyone will receive an invitation with instructions to fill out the survey on April 1 with a deadline of July 31.

This will be the first census to allow people to respond by phone or online.


Maddie Biertempfel is a senior majoring in broadcast journalism and political science. To contact her, email