As part of the Student Association’s Prairie Leaders Lecture Series, Illinois State Representative Robert Pritchard (R-Hinckley) spoke to the senators at Sunday’s senate meeting.
SA Senate Speaker Andrew Nelms said he commissioned Pritchard to come so he could provide insight to the senators in light of Gov. Blagojevich’s budget proposal last week.
Pritchard spoke about his desire to bring more state money to NIU. He said next year’s budget will be down 1.5 percent. This number would have been lower, except funding for NIU’s Rockford campus was an addition, he said.
Also, Pritchard spoke about House Bill 4361, which would require all colleges and universities to install sprinkler systems in the residence halls. He said hundreds of students’ lives are lost in fires every year. He asked for student feedback on the issue and about paying more in student fees to implement the bill.
Pritchard also discussed the role of sports at the university because of their ability to recruit students and their economic impact.
He said that when so many people were attending football games in the fall, it added nearly $1 million to the local economy each game day.
Pritchard presented NIU football coach Joe Novak with a resolution passed in the Illinois House for his efforts to revitalize the program and for his integrity, loyalty and respect.
Novak accepted the resolution on behalf of the team and thanked students for support.
“We’re going to work awful hard next season to try and do it again next year,” Novak said.
Another issue Pritchard touched upon was the accident that happened Tuesday at the intersection of Annie Glidden Road and Stadium Drive, where NIU student Lisa Hessenius was hit while crossing against the light.
“I stand ready to work with the campus and law officials to help prevent such accidents from occurring,” he said. Pritchard gave his condolences to Hessenius and her family.
At the senate meeting, the SA approved bills recognizing Students of the Illinois News Broadcasters Association and the American Meteorology Society. A bill also was proposed to add a referendum to the SA election ballot in the spring asking students if they would like to see extended hours at the Student Recreation Center.
Another item that was approved Sunday was an allocation of $1,844 to the Campus Activities Board to purchase a new computer.