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Government Speaker Series to feature Flossmoor Mayor Nov. 18

Michelle Nelson

As the nation experiences historic political divisions amid fiery rhetoric, one College of Arts and Sciences professor says the climate is perfect for institutions of higher learning.

“That’s what universities are supposed to do – bring us in to argue with each other and then to say, ‘We can disagree and that’s fine,’ said Andy Schott, who teaches the Model Illinois Government (MIG) class. “That’s the essence of building a society.”

Schott is also the coordinator of a new virtual Government Speaker Series designed to complement the MIG, a student simulation in which students travel to the state capital and take on leadership roles as governor, lieutenant governor and role play state representatives, and state lobbyists.

“We wanted to give students an experiential learning opportunity so part of the speaker series is to bring students in contact with those who practice the art of politics,’’ said Schott.

The series launched in October with Rep. Will Davis ('09) who discussed his nontraditional entry into politics after driving for a political figure.

Davis, recently featured on a recent NPR series on educating funding reform, also inspired Schott because his leadership serves as an answer to those who believe national politics are destructive.

“We look at the fringe groups nationally and believe they are taking hold, but we have to look at Illinois, where leadership is dominated by minorities -- Chris Welch, the majority leader of Senate, Lori Lightfoot -- they play a huge role in the direction of the state. That’s why Rep. Davis was so interesting."

On Nov. 18, Flossmoor Mayor Michelle Nelson, recently elected to office, will discuss what she hopes to achieve as mayor.

The series will continue each month through March 2022. Access it here: Event Password: Gov2021