Renewing Illinois Summit

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Students talking while sitting in a circle
Students talk during a group session as part of the 2019 Renewing Illinois Summit held at SIU Carbondale.
Erika Harold and John Shaw
Erika Harold, former candidate for Illinois Attorney General, talks with Institute Director John Shaw during the 2019 Renewing Illinois Summit held at SIU Carbondale.
Group photo of students posing while holding T-shirts
Institute Director John Shaw, front row, left, poses with students who participated in the 2019 Renewing Illinois Summit at SIU Carbondale.

Our annual Renewing Illinois Summit brings together Illinois college students to discuss and debate creative solutions to revitalize the Prairie State.

Our 2022 summit will be held on our Carbondale campus in the fall of 2022 and will consider the theme One Illinois: Noble Aspiration or Impossible Dream?

If you have questions about the summit, please email

We had planned to consider the One Illinois theme at our 2020 summit, which was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We invited Illinois General Assembly leadership to submit their perspectives on our guiding question: Is One Illinois a noble aspiration or impossible dream? We published those perspectives, along with historical and travel essays, in a Renewing Illinois Booklet. We also created an Illinois 101 Recommended Reading List — a collection of essential reading to gain a deeper understanding of our state.

Our inaugural summit was held in 2019 with the theme Renewing Illinois: Ambitious Dreams and Practical Steps to Revive the Prairie State. Thirty-five students from nine Illinois colleges and universities brought penetrating insights to create suggestions for reforms and renewal. Participants concluded that they see enormous potential here but are concerned Illinois has fallen into bad habits and has failed to position itself for the long-term. Read the 2019 summit findings.

Download the 2019 Renewing Illinois Booklet provided to the participants prior to summit.