Model Government Program Prepares Students for Poli-Sci Careers
Governors State University’s Political Science students have returned from this year’s virtual Model Illinois Government (MIG) with awards in hand.
Model Illinois Government, an intercollegiate government simulation, provides students with an in-depth look at state government and politics’ inner workings. Governors State students prepare for the simulation in the Political Science course Special Topics in Political Science: Model Illinois Government.
Political Science Professor Andrew Schott said students who participate in MIG would come away from the simulation with a deeper understanding of lawmaking complexity.
“Students that role-play at MIG develop a greater confidence in their ability to express and defend their positions as well as the confidence to modify or further develop their opinions as debates evolve,” he explained.
While the event usually occurs in the capitol building, with students spending four days in Springfield, the pandemic rerouted the event to a virtual setting. This year, Governors State’s student team won MIG Outstanding Small Delegation. Several members of the Governors State team took home personal awards.
Students Tiffany Hannah chaired a Senate committee that earned her the Outstanding Committee Chair in the Senate, and Brandon Craig served as a legislator debating bills in the House.
This year was GSU student Stephon Robertson’s third time at MIG and his second year in a row serving as comptroller. Since last year, Robertson has gone from a self-proclaimed “deer in headlights” as comptroller to confident in his role. Outside of an opportunity to network, he also sees the event assisting in his business communication––a skill he has carried over into his own business.
“The role helped me to step out my comfort zone and relate to other ethnicities and cultures of people,” Robertson said.
Two of the last four MIG governors have been Governors State students, including this year where GSU alumnus Isaiah Moore (’ 19) served as Governor MIG 2021, earning the George Perry Award - Outstanding Contribution to MIG. GSU student Kyle Bergfors, President of the Political Science Club at Governors State, worked on Isaiah’s staff--serving as chief of staff.
For the last four years, Bergfors has participated in MIG and has filled various roles, including Director of Communications in 2020, where he organized, structured, and prepared the senate chambers and helped run a campaign for Moore’s eventual landslide victory. Returning in 2021 to a virtual setting presented its challenges, but the pros outweighed the cons for Bergfors. He said MIG is the best professional development a student can have.
He said, “Participants can utilize classroom knowledge in a real-world physical setting without fear of real-world consequences. The point of being there is to make mistakes.”
Looking to the future, Bergfors says MIG inspired him to pursue graduate school and continue working in community and public service.
“At the end of the day, no matter where I’m at or what I end up doing, MIG will be the foundation,’’ he said.