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Democracy’s Future podcast: Finding passions through student government

Two young women smiling as they pose in front of a red wall with a logo that says WGLT.org 89.1 FM
Eric Stock
Maya McGrew, left, and Raji More are members of Illinois Wesleyan University's Student Senate.

In the latest episode of the WGLT/Vidette podcast Democracy’s Future, you'll hear from students who are already getting experience about how democracy works. They are serving on the Student Senate at Illinois Wesleyan University, a private liberal arts college in Bloomington. The Student Senate is made up of 36 senators who represent the needs and opinions of students to the campus administration.

Vidette reporter Ryan Nolasco spoke with two students who are learning about the structures of government while also pursuing their own passion projects.

Maya McGrew is a sophomore from Joliet majoring in interdisciplinary educational studies. McGrew serves on Student Senate's Civic Engagement committee.

Raji More is a sophomore computer science major from Bloomington. More serves on the Senate's Sustainability committee.

They explained what got them interested in serving on the Senate — and how it ties in with their views on democracy.

McGrew said she got a real life civics lesson early on when she was growing up in Joliet.

“Unfortunately a lot of the families there, they don’t have access to the proper resources to successfully raise a family or care for their children,” McGrew said. She said after her family move outside of Joliet city limits, she encountered harassment, bullying and racism in her new school.

McGrew said that inspired her to create her own social justice clubs.

More said her interest in sustainability took shape after COVID. More said she has learned the best way to engage others to learn about the cause and get involved — make it fun.

“I find that people don’t come to events to be lectured and learn about sustainability if it’s not something they would do in their free time,” More said.

More added the Senate’s Sustainability put on a series of events to mark Earth Week, including an "EarthFlix and Chill" documentary night.

“Without initial interest, people don’t actually care to act on change,” More said.

Coming up in the next two episodes of Democracy's Future, we'll hear how students try to detect bias and misinformation in the media, and learn about one group that's helping college women find their voice in politics.

Please give us your feedback on this series, and let us know if there are certain issues you'd like us to explore. Email us at news@wglt.org.

Megan Spoerlein was a reporting intern at WGLT.
Eric Stock is the News Director at WGLT. You can contact Eric at ejstoc1@ilstu.edu.