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Evanston Day pairs students, city officials with lawmakers

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Mark D. Shelton, 17, an Evanston Township High School junior, skipped the school cafeteria lunch line Feb. 26. Instead, he headed downstate to Springfield to meet with state officials for the fifth Annual Evanston Day.

Evanston Day allows local residents and organizations to reach out and discuss issues impacting Evanston with state leaders. Shelton was joined by four other ETHS students who rounded out a full busload of registrants.

A group of four Northwestern University students representing student government also participated, as did City Council members and city staff.

“It’s an opportunity to mingle with one another,” said District 202 School Board President Gretchen Livingston, who said this was the first year both schools joined Evanston Day.

Their presence reinforced one theme of the day, a growing partnership between the university and ETHS.

“The ability to cultivate opportunity between high school students and college students is the ability to build and sustain a nation,” Shelton said.

He was introduced by Evanston Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl to a roomful of Evanston Day participants and other Springfield-based officials. On cue, Shelton discussed his idea of bringing public bicycles to Evanston’s shared streets.

The City of Chicago has enjoyed success with its blue Divvy rental bikes.

“I really wanted to advertise the issue of bikes in the City of Evanston,” Shelton said. “It brings up a broader issue of cultivating a greater community.

“And what I mean by that, is something as simple as bikes can open up different ways for people to get around the city with ease regardless of your socioeconomic background. That’s always a good thing and hopefully, it can bring together different parts of the community.”

The partnership between ETHS and Northwestern University was a topic shared at the Governor’s Mansion luncheon.

Of urgency is promoting educational goals to effectuate science and engineering careers for both genders, with an encouragement to pursue arts and confidence-building disciplines.

The North Shore is an ideal home base for Northwestern University to cultivate future community contributors, said Morton Schapiro, Northwestern University president.

“Our principle campus is in Evanston, and I just love Evanston,” he said Schapiro.

ETHS students are often invited to learn at university-based workshops and labs.

Later, much of the Evanston Day afternoon itinerary was spent in Secretary of State Jesse White’s office where dignitaries dropped by.

White, who was not present, was, by default, a host as Evanston Day guests filled chairs at a long conference table or in other seating. A hallway of White’s recognition plaques greeted Evanston Day guests.

For Rebecca Liron, a Northwestern University senior from Brea, Calif., this was her first time to Springfield. It was also the first time too for her fellow Associated Student Government peers.

Kevin Harris, a Northwestern University sophomore, Chris Harlow, a sophomore and Liz Deadrick, also a sophomore, were eager to experience Springfield. Liron, who is majoring in political science and international affairs, is a part of the Community Relations Committee.

“I think our committee is trying to interact more with government officials and we are trying to branch out,” said Liron. “I think we’re trying more to meet our representatives to let them know we want to work with them. She said her group plans in early April to travel to Washington, D.C.

Liron‘s group met state Sen. Daniel Biss and state Rep. Robyn Gabel.

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