Redbirds have the unique opportunity to make their voices heard within their community during the Town of Normal Meet and Greet at 5 p.m. on Monday, September 16, at the Children’s Discovery Museum in Uptown Normal.
The annual event gives Illinois State University students the chance to network and meet directly with Town of Normal Council Members, staff, and leadership, and to discuss issues important to students in the community.
“I think that it is important for students to connect with our local officials because they are the ones who can really make a change for students,” said Hannah Beer, the Civic Engagement Committee Chair for the Illinois State Student Government Association. “Local government is essential and it is important for students to know that they can go to their elected officials with any concerns they have.”
Mayor Chris Koos will make brief remarks at 5:15 p.m. Food and refreshments will be provided, and students do not need to register in advance for this free event.
This is the first year that the Meet and Greet will be held at the Children’s Discovery Museum. The new venue this year allows students free access to explore museum exhibits while meeting with Town officials. Attendees will also be closer to City Hall, and students are encouraged to attend the Town Council Meeting at 7 p.m., directly following the Meet and Greet.
Each year, Town of Normal leaders and council members look forward to discussing community issues with students during the Meet and Greet, and student input is valued by community leaders. In the past, student concerns about recycling opportunities even helped to direct changes in local legislation.
“The Council members look forward to this event each year,” said Koos. “It presents a great opportunity for us to hear from students, get an understanding of their interests, and build relationships. Illinois State students are eager to make a difference, and we want to have an open ear and mind to their ideas.”
Beth Whisman, director of the Town of Normal Cultural Arts Department and Children’s Discovery Museum, also looks at the event as a learning and networking opportunity. “I find this event connects our staff with students who are genuinely interested in community building and career/volunteer opportunities,” Whisman said. “We approach this as a networking opportunity to discover new recruits, partners, and interns. We usually walk away learning something new from the students—especially what inspires their generation to get involved.”
The Town of Normal Meet and Greet event is sponsored by the Town of Normal, Student Government Association, and the Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning. If you have any questions about the event, contact the Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning at CommunityEngagemement@IllinoisState.edu or (309) 438-1100.