Model Illinois Government begins RSO process

By Christopher Hicks

Students will soon get the opportunity to experience what it is like to be an elected official and all such responsibilities through a developing campus organization.

Model Illinois Government is in the initial process of becoming a Registered Student Organization, which will provide government simulation and give any interested student the opportunity to learn what it takes to be an elected official. It is structured for a legislative simulation as well as a moot-court competition.

Members choose among various roles to fill within the organization, including legislators, lobbyists, journalists, attorneys, justices and budget analysts. Leadership positions within the parties and committees are also available. Students are assigned political parties and districts and then placed in committees that reflect such positions. Student legislators then simulate the legislative processes in Springfield’s Capitol building rooms and chambers.


Bethany Wendler, student involvement and leadership development coordinator, said the organization was active in the past, but no specific dates were immediately available. However, the last MIG constitution submitted to her office was in 1986.

Randy Burnside, associate professor of political science, said he and other professors and faculty will support the organization to ensure it maintains its functions and purpose. Students who wished to participate in model government had to do so through John A. Logan College, he said, and they have been very successful.

“It would have been unfair to pass costs onto students wanting to participate in a program that would just make the university look good,” Burnside said.

Joe DeBose, a junior from Eldorado studying political science, said MIG has been a national organization for over 35 years, and a lot of students who have participated in the program have received many awards over the years. However, he said, those students could not bring home the awards because of their conjunctive participation. DeBose said he brought this to the university’s attention and pushed for this organization to return.

Taylor Bryant, 2013 alumnus who majored in political science, participated in MIG during her time as a SIU and JALC student. Bryant now serves as a legal assistant with Land of Lincoln and credits her time and involvement with MIG to her success.

Students who participate in JALC’s program can choose to keep their positions or join SIU’s program, but there would be no option to retain their JALC model position. Mandy Little, a senior from West Frankfort studying political science and the president of JALC’s model Senate, has participated in JALC’s program for the past four years and said she would stay to keep her position because that’s where she was elected and SIU’s group won’t be official for another semester. However, she said she would offer a helping hand to the university to ensure everything runs as smoothly as possible.

“Being involved with this organization has presented many opportunities for myself and the others involved,” she said.