State Representative Bob Pritchard (R) returned to NIU for a meet-and-greet event with University Honors students. Pritchard, who visited NIU last March (2017) for a similar function, was invited back by the University Honors Program to host an Honors Engaged workshop session and get face time with interested Huskies.
Over breakfast muffins and pie charts, the Illinois lawmaker discussed the importance of staying aware and involved in politics. He also outlined some major issues facing Illinois, particularly the budget crisis and its effect on state universities. Finally, Pritchard opened the floor to dialogue with Honors students and staff.
Throughout the hour-long session, Pritchard emphasized the need to stay up-to-date and active with government representatives. “Pay attention to who your elected officials are,” he told students. “Know what they stand for… get to know them personally.” He added that “[officials are] always looking for volunteers.”
The Representative urged students to feel empowered, not eclipsed, by politics. “Your ideas do matter,” he said. “Your relationships do matter.” In terms of social media, Pritchard suggested that engaged students to look up their officials online and “tweet back at ‘em! As future leaders, you need to raise your voice. You need to be engaged.” He especially emphasized paying attention to local and state politics, pointing out that important college-related issues like MAP grants, university budgets and in-state incentives for high school seniors were all handled at the state level.
Pritchard has represented the 70th Illinois district since 2003, and served as the Chairman of the DeKalb County Board from 1998 to 2003. He has officially announced that will not be running for reelection in 2018.
The University Honors Program regularly hosts workshops for Honors students, who participate as part of the Honors Engaged program. Workshops cover a wide range of topics, from sign language to resume building to self-defense, and are held regularly in the Campus Life Building room 1104, the Honors classroom. Students who attend Honors Engaged workshops get great experience, various perks and usually, free food. Active Honors students receive weekly emails about upcoming workshop events.