Illinois Student Senate prepares for Big Ten conference, voting initiatives

Two members of the Illinois Student Senate, are beginning to plan for the winter conference of the Association of Big Ten Students, or ABTS. The University will host the conference in January.

Other schools in the Big Ten will send delegates from their student governments to the conference, which is aimed at being a forum for the exchange of ideas between student leaders from top universities.

This summer, four senators along with Student Body President David Pileski traveled to Penn State University for the ABTS summer conference. Ryan Young, senator and junior in LAS, was elected the ABTS campus representative Wednesday. Young will facilitate communication between ABTS and ISS.

Sabrina Lopez, sophomore and senator in LAS, was elected the campus coordinator and is charged with a large portion of the planning of the event. She said she will take ideas from the summer ABTS conference to make the winter conference even better.

An executive order regarding validating new committee members was passed during the meeting, allowing committee work to get underway.

Shana Harrison, senator and junior in LAS, said she is excited to begin work in her committee. As chair of the committee on community and governmental affairs, Harrison said she will take what she learned at the ABTS conference and implement it in ISS.

“A lot of schools have nonvoting members of their student governments on county boards and city councils,” Harrison said. “It would get students involved in the community.”

Harrison also said her committee will work on a “get out the vote” project that will focus on registering students to vote in upcoming local and state elections.

Young said ISS will begin to work on sustainability initiatives such as water bottle refilling stations, as was seen on Penn State’s campus.

“(A relationship with the ABTS) will bolster communication with other universities,” Young said. “Using their ideas, we won’t have to reinvent the wheel.”