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Alumni issue civic engagement donation challenge for Birds Give Back

Scott and Ali Preston

Ali and Scott Preston pose with Reggie Redbird.

Scott ’10 and Ali (Seys) Preston ’15, ’18 strongly believe in the Illinois State University core value of civic engagement.

To demonstrate their commitment to engagement, the Prestons issued the Preston Pledge Challenge for the Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning (CESL) during Birds Give Back. When 100 donations are made to CESL on February 27, the Prestons will donate $5,000 to fund civic education programs and initiatives.

“Civic engagement, community involvement, and political awareness are things that are important to us,” said Scott, “and we’re glad to be able to partner with and support a department at Illinois State that shares those values as well. We are so excited for this donation to be the floor and not the ceiling in supporting all of the great things that the center currently has going on.”

Scott and Ali Preston were both civically engaged while students at Illinois State, and their involvement has continued in their careers. In 2013 Scott was sworn-in as the youngest councilman in the Town of Normal’s history. He was re-elected to his second term in spring 2017. Scott is president of Tomorrow Enterprises LLC, a real estate development and investment company he founded in 2011.

As a student, Scott was active wherever he could help make a difference. He held executive positions with the Student Government Association, was part of the leadership team for the American Democracy Project, and joined several student organizations through Student Affairs. Scott currently serves on the Student Affairs Alumni Ambassador Team and speaks to classes and student organizations on campus each semester.

Ali was active in the Public Relations Student Society of America while a student at Illinois State, serving as vice president her senior year. In 2015 she received the Future Alumni Leader Award from Illinois State’s Alumni Association. She currently serves as the digital communications specialist for the Illinois Farm Bureau. Previously, she was the statewide program coordinator for Mothers Against Drunk Driving, and she has spoken to over 8,500 youth on the dangers of underage drinking and impaired driving. She also worked for United Way of McLean County.

Ali is active with the Michael Collins Foundation and is an executive board member for Bloomington-Normal’s Association for Women in Communications. She also serves on the board of the homeowner’s association for her area.

“We are thrilled with the generosity of the Prestons and the opportunities their gift will allow us to offer students,” said Dr. Katy Strzepek, Ph.D. ’18, director at CESL. “Our current civic education programming includes sponsored films on important social issues, workshops on civil discourse across political viewpoints, and engagement opportunities with the Town of Normal and City of Bloomington. We hope to use the Prestons’ gift to expand and enrich our offerings.”

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