Urbana Mayor Laurel Prussing addressed the Illinois Student Senate meeting Wednesday evening.

She highlighted the history of the University as well as the present state of issues on campus.

Prussing emphasized the importance of student involvement in the voting process and encouraged engagement not only in national elections, but at the state level as well.

“One of the things we could work on is voter registration,” she said. “I would suggest to you, if you are a college student, the governor of Illinois is very important to you”.

She spoke highly of the student turnout for primary elections last month.

“We had a huge turnout in this county, and I think that’s because students were involved, not only at the polling places, but in early registration as well,” she said.

Members of the senate were eager to get Mayor Prussing’s opinion on some of their ideas to improve the community. One student asked how they should go about proposing a tax on the use of plastic bags at local stores.

“We would see how it works in other cities and see how it works in other communities. We want to first see how it works in other places,” Prussing said.

Prussing also discussed Urbana’s sister city of Zomba, Malawi — a relationship bound by the Sister Cities International program. Prussing said the city has a global reach.

“Urbana is a small city, but because of the University of Illinois, we are an international city,” she said.

Representatives from local fire and police departments were also in attendance to educate students on their roles in the campus community. They stressed the importance of student’s cooperation.

“We would rather you call us and not need us, than not call us and need us,” said Tim Compton, director of PRO Ambulance EMS Service.

Representatives across departments stressed the necessary cooperation between the students and the services put in place to protect them.

“You can’t be afraid to call 911 because of what the bill’s going to be,” said John Sollars, manager of Arrow Ambulance.

Compton went into detail about the general procedure of what happens when students call in emergencies on campus. He talked about the standardized system of determining someone’s ability to give consent.

“We have an assessment tool that allows us to measure how capable an intoxicated student is in making a decision whether to come to the hospital or not, “Compton said. “If the medics on the scene determine someone has a score of eleven or more, they are good to go.”

Janet Maupin, deputy fire marshal of Champaign, gave a Powerpoint presentation about the fire at 908 S. Oak St. in Champaign that took place last January. She spoke to the immediacy of the fire department’s response.

“We were under four minute response times, which is the national standard,” Maupin said.

Brian Nightlinger, Urbana fire chief, also spoke on the department’s general protocol and efficacy of their efforts.

“Most generally, we will send seven units, use five of those and keep two in reserve,” he said. “Priority is getting people out of the house”.

Maupin also advised students on where to live to ensure their personal safety.

“When you are looking for places to live, rent some place with a fire sprinkler system and keep fire doors closed,” Maupin said.

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