On September 27th, 2014, hundreds of young people gathered together in the University of Illinois Chicago Forum for a first of it’s kind convention designed to create a statewide policy agenda for Illinois. This event represented the culmination of six months of work on the NextGen Illinois project, including over 60 in person discussions on campuses and in communities as well as engaging over 20,000 young people online.
Speakers at the event included gubernatorial candidates from both sides of Illinois’ contentious 2014 midterm election. Governor Bruce Rauner kicked off the day by addressing the crowd in the morning plenary session. Trainings on each of the 10 issue areas covered by the NextGen Illinois project followed, lead by students from across the region as well as experts such as Lindsay Anderson, Chair of the Illinois Board of Higher Education, and Sonja Marziano of Smart Chicago. Then-Governor Pat Quinn spoke during the lunch plenary, making NextGen Illinois one of the few events that both candidates appeared at during the contentious election. Roosevelt worked with several local partner organizations to reach a diverse base of students, address important topics like education and civil rights reforms for our state, and registered young people to vote.
At the convention, young people from across the state voted on a policy agenda that speaks to the 10 changes they are most looking for from Illinois state government. Read the full report and resulting agenda here.
To explore the comments and suggestions from all online participants, and to learn more about each of the 10 topics NextGen Illinois covered, visit the project website.