Illinois Government to offer taste of leadership roles for Illinois college
Student to participate in simulation this weekend
Tom Cronin - Public Affairs Reporter
Approximately 30 UIS students
will get a taste of what it would be like to work as a state legislator,
lobbyist, governor, lawyer, state Supreme Court justice or Statehouse
journalist at this weekend’s four-day Model Illinois Government
From March 3-6, approximately 260 student delegates from 20 Illinois colleges
and universities will gather in the Springfield Hilton and the state Capitol
to oversee a simulated state government, draft and vote on mock legislation,
prosecute and defend cases in a mock state court, and publish a newspaper
covering the simulated government activity.
MIG President Dan Kovats, a senior political studies major at UIS, said
that despite some year-to-year fluctuations, the number of overall delegates
has remained relatively steady since his first year with MIG in 2001.
The number of delegates in this time has ranged from approximately 220
to “upwards of 300,” he said.
The number of delegates from UIS, however, is about twice as large as
it was two years ago. UIS Head Delegate Carly Hawkins said that approximately
14 UIS students participated in MIG in 2003. Hawkins will serve as the
senate president’s chief of staff this year.
UIS sent 36 delegates to MIG last year – more than any other delegation
– and is usually better prepared than most schools, Kovats said.
In the last three years, UIS has received the award for best large delegation
twice. Kovats said that he is looking to see “more of the same”
To ensure the continued success of the delegation, UIS delegates who expect
to graduate in May are planning to spend a lot of time this year working
with classmates who expect to return to MIG next year, MIG Senate President
Jason Stuebe said. In the last four years, the UIS delegation has included
four consecutive governors, a Senate president, two speakers of the House,
two lieutenant governors, a comptroller and a treasurer.
“We’ve known nothing less than excellence and that’s
what we want to teach these newbies that are coming to take our place,”
said Stuebe, a senior political studies major at UIS and a MIG executive
board member. “We have a really strong heritage, and a place like
UIS with its core philosophy embedded in public policy and service is
indeed worthy of holding such a role.”
Heather Shaffer, editor-in-chief of the MIG Journal, said that MIG is
classified as a student organization at UIS, which makes it possible for
most interested students to participate as delegates. UIS does not offer
academic credit to students participating in MIG, said Shaffer, a junior
communications major at UIS.
Hawkins said that MIG is probably her favorite student organization. It
is the most fun, she said, and it offers the opportunity to meet students
from across the state while also spending time with friends from UIS.
“I learned to enjoy that it’s not always about parliamentary
procedure, the bills, the heated debates – it’s also about
the camaraderie you build with your colleagues, the laughs and even the
beers you share,” Stuebe said. “That’s what I have enjoyed
and ultimately what I will miss the most.”
According to Kovats, the experience he has gained as MIG governor, speaker
of the House, state treasurer and secretary of state has been “immeasurable,”
and he has enjoyed each minute of it. The MIG executive board has put
a lot of work into this year’s simulation, he added, and it looks
to be one of the best MIG simulations in recent years.
Stuebe said that he is looking forward to wrapping up his four-year career
with MIG – a career that he would like to look back on as being
successful. As a member of the MIG executive board, Stuebe negotiated
a contract with the Hilton last year that should secure room and board
for the simulation’s delegates until 2009.
Even though MIG is only a four-day simulation, it typically involves months
of preparation for many delegates. The executive board, which is led by
Kovats, meets monthly throughout the year. Kovats said that he has also
taken some time to prepare the State of MIG Address, which he is scheduled
to deliver tomorrow.
Hawkins said that she started to recruit legislators in April 2004 and
has since filled all of the needed roles. To familiarize the legislators
with parliamentary procedure, Hawkins began meeting with them in January.
To prepare for the publication of the MIG Journal, Shaffer has been working
with MIG Attorney General Mike Runestad to develop an editorial board
for the newspaper, and she has also added some editorial positions to
this year’s staff. The first issue of the MIG Journal will be published
tomorrow, she said, representing the first time that an issue has been
published on the first day of the simulation.
UIS students cast in roles for 'Fifth of July'
Janee Mitchell - Feature Writer
Theatre is next on the production list for the “Fifth of July”
that will be open April 1 and run through April 3 and again April 8-10.
Eric Thibodeaux-Thompson, assistant professor and director of theatre
at UIS, held auditions for the play Feb. 13-15 and an equal number of
community members and students will be cast in the production.
Drama, grief, excitement, enjoyment and shock are just a few of the things
Tony Wanless, John McAdams and Marie Pignon rehearse their parts
in the UIS production of Lanford Wilson's "Fifth of July"
while stage manger Sabrina Holmes reads along.
viewing a good
play. The drama, grief, excitement, enjoyment and shock can be written
into the play but unless the actor or actress finds a way to relate those
feelings to the audience, the play has a null affect.
Lanford Wilson’s “Fifth of July” has been produced a
number of times and is preferred by some because it is said to be hilarious
and well written. The New York Daily News, as cited on UIS Theatre program’s
website, said, “This is one of the most incredibly well-written,
beautifully acted, profound and moving and often hilarious plays it has
ever been my privilege to see in the American theater.”
The play has received great reviews from a number of places, but it is
the actors who convey the meaning of the play, who show the hilarious
nature of the play, and who makes the play come alive, so to speak.
The story begins when old college friends and activists meet at the farmhouse
of their friend Kenneth Talley, Jr. The play expresses comical moments
and moments of bitterness shared between the friends as one friend seeks
to purchase the farmhouse, while a family member seeks to use the land
as a place to scatter ashes. The play perhaps has many character moods
that must be portrayed by the actors.
There were 4 women and 4 men chosen to portray the characters of the Fifth
of July under the direction of Thibodeaux-Thompson.
Members of the Springfield Community will portray the following characters:
John McAdams will portray Kenneth Talley, Jr., the Vietnam veteran with
no legs who calls the farmhouse being sought after home.
Shirene Thomas will portray Gwen Landis, the aspiring rocker who seeks
to purchase the farmhouse.
Brad Hammond will portray Ken’s lover Jed Jenkins.
Shirley McConnaughay will portray Ken’s Aunt Sally Friedman, who
seeks to scatter the ashes of her dead husband on the property.
UIS students will portray the following characters:
Marie Pignon will portray Ken’s sister June Talley.
Molly Sullivan will portray Shirley.
Christopher Wyant will portray Weston Hurley.
Anthony Wanless will portray John Landis, Gwen’s manager/husband.