Youth Government 2002 allows students to learn about politics from those in the field

By Gus Bode

The youth of today will someday be the leaders of tomorrow. The Public Policy Institute will be sponsoring Youth Government 2002, which will be taking place this weekend to allow the youth of today to gain a deeper understanding of politic, leadership, and the value of public service.

The event has been taking place since 1998, and this year’s session includes motivational talks form former U.S. Sen. Paul Simon and SIUC political scientists.

Former Gov. Jim Edgar will also step up to the podium in front of an audience of high school and community college students. Edgar was active in politics at an early age, said Mike Lawrence, Edgar’s former press secretary and senior adviser.


“Edgar was the president of the student body when her was in high school and at Eastern Illinois University,” said Lawrence, now the associate director of the Public Policy Institute. “Jim Edgar is an excellent role model for students who have an interest in going into public service, because he was involved in high school and college, then went on to become governor of the state.”

Other speakers include:U.S. District Judge J. Phil Gilbert, Secretary of the Illinois Department of Human Services Linda Renee Baker, lobbyist Katy Lawrence and former governor’s liaison the Hispanic community, Arabel Rosales.

“It’s important to encourage high school and college students to make a positive difference through involvement in public service,” Lawrence said.

The event begins with a pizza party with Simon in the Alumni Lounge at the Recreation Center, which takes place from 7 to 9 p.m. Saturday events begin with a keynote address by Edgar at the Student Center auditoriums. From 10:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. the visiting speakers will circulate and conduct 30-minute presentations in Faner Hall, rooms 1224, 1226, 1228 and 1230. At 12:20 p.m. there will be a picnic lunch at Simon’s home, at 1:30 p.m. Simon will give a keynote address and at 2:15p.m. closing remarks will be made.