State Senator Dale Fowler hosted over 60 students from 16 high schools Thursday on the campus of Southern Illinois University Carbondale as a part of his annual Student Advisory Council.
“This is an amazing educational opportunity for students to develop a better understanding of the legislative process and even engage in creating potential legislation,” said Senator Fowler. “State government impacts our everyday lives and it’s important students understand the process and how a bill becomes a law.”
Daniel Tsung, a student at Carbondale Community High School attended Thursday’s event and said, “It was a fantastic experience. I got to meet with so many likeminded kids my age who are willing to get in there hands-on and learn about these topics and the scene of public policy and lawmaking.”
The day featured speakers such as Lead Pastor TW Norman, Jeffrey Isbell of Meridian Health Care, SIU Chancellor Austin Lane, SIU Foundation Chief Executive Officer Matt Kupec, as well as SIU Dawg Pound President Dylan Chambers.
“My favorite part was being able to do the bill presentations and being able to present ideas that were important to us instead of ones that were assigned,” said Hunter Gunderson, Hardin County High School. “It is important to stay involved and connected and learn about how our government works.”
After hearing from the guest speakers, students were brought together to create legislative ideas they would like to see come to fruition. They were given the opportunity to present their ideas to the other members of the council and voted for their favorite. In the Spring, the students will come to the Capitol, be assigned legislative roles, and will be given the chance to debate the bill they created.
Fowler added, “We had some amazing ideas come from the students today. Some were education related, some were funding needs based, but the takeaway for me was… they are brainstorming and working together to find solutions to improve the state of Illinois. I cannot wait to see what they do with their legislation when they come see me during Spring session.”