Former student body president seeks state support for Eastern

Luis Martinez, Administration Editor

As the liaison between Eastern and state legislators, former student body president Katie Anselment works to gain support for Eastern, acting as the university’s “eyes and ears” in Springfield.

Anselment, the director of constituent relations, graduated from Eastern with a bachelor’s degree in political science and a concentration in public administration in 2002.

She has also worked previously as a contact lobbyist and as the education policy and budget analyst for the Speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives Michael Madigan.

“What I do especially for Eastern is I am based in Springfield; I am in the Capitol every day when they’re in session,” Anselment said. “I go to all the higher education hearings, all the appropriation hearings that are related to higher education, and then sometimes even other committees have hearings that we are tracking bills, so I’ll go to those as well.”

Anselment said if Eastern is either supportive or against a bill, she fills out a witness on the Eastern’s behalf and voices the university’s opinion.

“If there’s something we’re really strongly opposed to or supportive of, but more often if we were really opposed to something, I might get up and testify on behalf of EIU or for a bill,” Anselment said. “I help coordinate things for when our administrators are coming over or for anyone.”

During her time at Eastern, Anselment started getting involved with the student government.

“I think I ran for Student Senate at the end of my freshman year, and then in my sophomore year there was a vacancy for the (vice president) for public affairs,” Anselment said. “I got put into that position after a vacancy occurred and then I decided to run for student body president.”

Anselment became student body president during her junior year.

“It was a great time. Eastern has a good tradition of having a very involved student government,” Anselment said. “We were mostly involved with tuition and fee type stuff that were very important then, trying to work with the administration on keeping costs down, but also making sure that within that same thing that we were getting the services that we wanted.”

She said she remembers contract issues and a bumpy beginning when the Panther Shuttle was just getting started.

“Those are just some of the things I remember working on in student government; it was a fantastic time,” Anselment said. “I spent probably more time than I should have in the student government office and working on student government stuff.”

During her senior year, Anselment ran for and won the position of the student member of the Illinois Board of Higher Education.

“Back then, they had one student who could be a voting member, so I was in that role for my senior year,” Anselment said.

After graduating from Eastern in 2002, Anselment attended a graduate program at the University of Illinois at Springfield.

“When I graduated from Eastern, I had already been accepted as an Illinois legislative staff intern, which is a specific program run through the University of Illinois at Springfield,” Anselment said.”

Anselment also said she worked full time as a staffer with one of the four legislative caucuses for an entire year.

“That’s what I went straight to from graduation from EIU, I went to be a legislative staffer and I worked for (the) House Democrats.” Anselment said. “If you do a decent job and if they like you, they tend to hire you on after your internship and so things worked out for me.”

Anselment said she handled secondary and higher education while she was on staff.

“I handled both of those issue areas for the speaker while I was on staff,” Anselment said.

Anselment said she worked on staff for Madigan for five years and spent another five years as a contract lobbyist.

Currently, Anselment is working on organizing things for the Student Action Team when they arrive on April 15 for lobby day.

“I’ll try and figure out when I can get appointments set up for them and with who,” Anselment said. “I’m the eyes and ears on the ground in Springfield when they’re in session every day for EIU.”


Luis Martinez can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected]