Sen. Fowler’s Student Advisory Council gather to learn about state government

Sen. Fowler introduces SIU graduate DeAnna Price, an American track and field athlete competing...
Sen. Fowler introduces SIU graduate DeAnna Price, an American track and field athlete competing primarily in the hammer throw, who represented the United States in the 2021 Olympic Games.(Sen. Fowler)
Published: May. 4, 2022 at 3:32 PM CDT
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HARRISBURG, Ill. (KFVS) - State Senator Dale Fowler’s Student Advisory Council gathered at the Stadium Club in Carbondale, Ill. to learn about the workings of their state government.

On Wednesday, April 20, 50 students from high schools in the 59th State District joined together to discuss General Assembly processes and how laws are formed.

According to a release from Sen. Fowler, the students were recommended by officials from their respective schools to participate in the program.

“Our Student Advisory Council provides an opportunity for our best and brightest young people to learn more about how the General Assembly works, and how to take an idea and shepherd it through the process of becoming a law,” said Fowler. “These students assume different roles in the process of passing laws, which complements what they have learned in the classroom.”

Presentations were delivered to students by:

  • Dr. Meera Komarraju, Interim Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, Professor of Applied Psychology at Southern Illinois University (SIU).
  • SIU graduate DeAnna Price, an American track and field athlete competing primarily in the hammer throw, who represented the United States in the 2021 Olympic Games.
  • Dr. Sebastian Chou, President and CEO of Summit Enterprises Services Incorporated.
  • Joe Cervantez, State’s Attorney of Jackson County.

Students then got the opportunity to assume roles of lawmakers, governor, citizens, lobbyists and reporters in a mock committee hearing.

This was held at the SIU Law School Courtroom and the students were allowed to pick the topic of debate.

After hearing testimony about proposed legislation from the students serving as lobbyists and concerned citizens, the students serving as lawmakers voted on the issue. A student serving as Governor then weighed in on the decision.

Junior T.J. Stone from Marion High School said, “My favorite part was being part of a mock council because it let me know what it’s like to be a Senator. It’s important for students to get involved because they are the future of said government. If we understand how it works early on, we can be more prepared to take over.”

“It was such an amazing experience. Getting to have a glance into how legislation is made and passed is super interesting,” said Maia Hayden, senior from Vienna High School. “I really enjoyed being able to be the Sponsor Senator! I found a new respect for the actual Senators who have to sit in session for hours at a time. I’m very thankful to have the experience!”

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