Lobby day an opportunity for students to speak to legislators
The University of Illinois Day at the Capitol offers students a unique opportunity to engage directly with state legislators in Springfield.
This event, which is hosted by the University of Illinois Alumni Alliance and Illinois Connection, takes place from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 3 in the Michael J. Howlett Building, 501 S. 2nd St., Springfield. The event counts as an excusable absence from classes.
Bus transportation will be provided from UIC to Springfield, where students from all three University of Illinois campuses — Chicago, Urbana-Champaign and Springfield — will gather for a complimentary lunch and training session. Students will then meet with legislators.
Students who wish to attend the event must register online. Details on bus transportation will be released closer to the date of the occasion.
UIC’s Student Advocacy Coalition (SAC), which helps facilitate the day, encourages students from all disciplines to participate.
“For students of any major and any interest, it is very important to engage with the politicians who are making decisions about the institution you are getting your education from,” said SAC president Andrew Sullender, a third-year undergraduate majoring in political science. “The decisions that politicians make about UIC will directly impact you.”
Sullender recalled the state budget stalemate, which went on for two years under former Gov. Bruce Rauner, and how it heavily impacted the University of Illinois campuses.
“A lot of us realized that we need to make sure that our voices are heard in the State government because our needs are being undervalued,” Sullender said. “SAC works to ensure that the public universities in Illinois are not underfunded going into the future and that students’ needs are valued in the way that they should be.”
SAC members from all three campuses will lead groups of students around the Capitol to help facilitate conversations with politicians. It’s also an opportunity to get involved with SAC, which holds weekly meetings open to all students every Monday at 5 p.m in 1350 University Hall.
“If anyone has a topic that they care about and want to push to the state government, SAC is certainly open to helping that,” Sullender said. “We are hoping that people come with their ideas about what goes into the future.”