Millikin Students attend Model Illinois Government

Chris Diver

During the spring semester, Millikin hosted a course entitled Model Illinois Government in which students learn the process of the Illinois State Government. As part of the course, over the course of February 25th-28th, several Millikin students attended the Model Illinois Government simulation in Springfield. This is an annual convention in which college students from around the state are able to come together and simulate the process of the Illinois legislature as well as a Moot Court competition.

One of the main parts of the convention is the legislature simulation. This year, 13 students form Millikin attended the convention. During their time at the convention, students were divided up into different committees, political parties, and districts. They then receive bills that are currently being debated in the Illinois legislature. Over the course of 4 days, students were debating bills back in forth between the committees and meeting with the other parties and seeing which bills to pass on to the floor.

During this convention many students took up leadership roles during the campaign with two Millikin students took leadership roles in their committees Blake Knox, and Morgan McKee as well as Courtney Woelfel who ran for Secretary of State.

When asked how he felt about taking a leadership role Knox said “It was a good experience, it was my first year at the convention, so I didn’t know what to expect. It was both a good experience to participate in the convention as well as take on a leadership role. It was humbling to speak for my side during the convention.”

Another student, Kate Wrigley, got an education bill she wrote voted on by the House and approved during the simulation. The bill passed in the education committee and went on to be passed on the House floor. “I experienced true collaborations as the Education committee debated my legislation and amended it to include all languages. I find it particularly rewarding to be a part of an experience that encourages college students to learn how to simulate the Illinois Legislature in a manner not based on partisanship, but on solidarity.” Stated Wrigley when asked how she felt about her legislation going through.

The other part of the convention includes a Moot Court competition in which students participate in a simulation of a court case and are scored on how well they displayed their knowledge of the case. This year Millikin brought four teams including a team of Taylor Godwin and Nick Roberson, and another team of Jeff Broch and McKensie Meadows and both teams moved on to the quarterfinal round. The team of Broch and Meadows went on to get 2nd and Jeff Broch won the award for Most Outstanding Novice Moot Court Attorney.

When asked about her experience at Moot Court, Meadows said “Moot Court stands out to me as being one of the greatest learning experiences that I underwent throughout college. It requires every student involved to step outside of his or her comfort zone, think critically and learn how to prepare effective arguments.”

Not only did Millikin have students who participated in Moot Court, Millikin also had two students who participated as Justices. The first being Courtney Burress who served as Chief Justice for the past year and Kiana Holmes who served as an Associate Justice. In addition to students, several Millikin alums also served as professional justices including Justin Allen (Class of 2010), Klay Baynar (Class of 2011) and Josh Rose (Class of 2015). All three gave input to the competition from the view of a lawyer to make the scoring of the contest more authentic.