Wednesday, February 06, 2019

Leadership lived: UIS political science major leads effort to lobby state lawmakers on behalf of students

As a political science major, Ben Szalinski says he chose the University of Illinois Springfield because of its smaller class sizes and location in the state capital. He’s using that location to his advantage as president of the Student Advocacy Coalition.

“The Student Advocacy Coalition is a group of student lobbyists,” he said. “Our job is to go to our legislators and talk to them about what kind of changes we want to see as college students in the Illinois General Assembly. It's important to be involved because the decisions that legislators make directly impact our education.”

Szalinski, a Mundelein, Illinois native, is active in volunteer efforts as the treasurer of the Alternative Spring Break student organization. He traveled to Houston, Texas to clean up hurricane debris last year and plans to go to Puerto Rico this spring. He is also the community awareness chair for the Leadership for Life Service Organization.

Off campus, Szalinski is completing an online internship with the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs where he writes “Veteran of the Day” blog posts highlighting what veterans have done in their lives and activities they've done in the community.

“After graduating from UIS, I want to go into a journalism field - work for a major media outlet reporting on different news stories or work as a public relations person,” said Szalinski.

Szalinski also work on campus as an intramural sports supervisor for UIS Campus Recreation and previously was part of Model Illinois Government, a group which holds a state government simulation at the Illinois State Capitol each year.

“UIS has taught me a lot about leadership because it's shown me that if you want to make an impact in the community, you have to be involved, you have to be a leader. I'm glad I came to UIS because I was able to get very involved in the community and have a positive impact.”

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