Blake Wood
Publish Date

University of Illinois Springfield students earned the outstanding large award at the Model Illinois Government (MIG) simulation held March 1-3 at the Illinois State Capitol and Wyndham Springfield City Centre.

UIS students competed against students from 14 colleges and universities across Illinois. MIG gives them the chance to serve as legislators, staffers, lobbyists, journalists and officials of the executive branch. Through committee actions, a regular legislative session and a veto session, participants learn the legislative process by actively participating in the simulation.

“This was a record year in terms of a delegation receiving awards, and I couldn't be prouder of the UIS team,” said Ken Owen, MIG faculty advisor and associate professor of history. “Everyone contributed to the award, and had a remarkable commitment to learning about and understanding the democratic process.”

The UIS delegation took home seven individual awards:

  • Dakota Gordon of Bradley won the Outstanding Member of the House of Representatives award.
  • Tyler Vollintine of Rochester was honored with the Outstanding Whip in the House of Representatives award.
  • Samuel Moore of Moweaqua received the Outstanding First Year Delegate in the Senate award.
  • Lucas Schilling of Valmeyer won the Outstanding Whip in the Senate award.
  • John Kennedy of Oakdale was named the Outstanding Committee Chair in the Senate.
  • Caleb Grover of Stonington received the award for Outstanding Member of Staff.
  • Joel Lemmert of Dixon was honored with the Outstanding Contribution to Model Illinois Government award.

During the 2024 simulation, Lemmert served as governor and Alex Rankin of Davis Junction was the speaker of the house. In the House of Representatives, Gordon served as majority leader, Abbie Hasty of Alton was the majority whip and Vollintine acted as minority whip. In the Senate, Moore was the minority leader, Kennedy the minority assistant leader and Schilling the minority whip. Hasty and Kennedy also served as committee chairs.

“For my final year with Model Illinois Government it was truly an honor to stand in the well of the House of Representatives and lead debate on real pieces of legislation already discussed by the real legislature,” Rankin said. “To be in that hall and lead those debates with such an amazing group of people was the best way that I could ever ask to end my time with the organization.”

MIG members start preparing legislation during the fall term, polish their parliamentary skills and organize membership into a delegation for the spring conference.