Department of Politics and Government Professor Erik Rankin and eight Illinois State University students attended the first Renewing Illinois Summit March 28–29 at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

The two-day summit included students from public and private universities in Illinois. Discussion topics included the state budget, the future of Illinois higher education, the political climate, and future of the state.

“Illinois is at a crossroads as a new administration takes power in Springfield and confronts a myriad of serious challenges. Policymakers must decide if they will tackle these problems or defer them to another day,” said John T. Shaw, executive director of the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute.

Students engaged in conversation with peers and lectures by political analyst James Nowlan and former Illinois Attorney General candidate Erika Harold. The proceedings of the summit will now be compiled and presented to Gov. J.B. Pritzker and other Illinois government officials.

“The summit was an amazing opportunity to meet with our peers at other Illinois universities,” said Illinois State participant Gordon Robinson said. “We are the future of this state and will need to be responsible for our voices being heard. The direction of this state will directly affect our generation and now is the time to make our voices heard.”