Student Newsroom

Durbin praises University of Illinois student on U.S. Senate floor


In a speech on the floor of the U.S. Senate this week, Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois praised a University of Illinois student for standing up for abortion rights by casting her vote last week. Courtesy photo

In a speech on the floor of the U.S. Senate Monday, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) praised a Lauren Snyder, a University of Illinois student, for standing up for abortion rights by casting her vote last week.

Durbin made the comments after reading a story by another university student, Daniel Villarreal, who interviewed voters for the Illinois Student Newsroom on Election Day.

In his speech, Durbin said it’s important for younger generations to cast their ballots.

“In this year’s election, young voters continued the trend that began in 2018 and 2020,” he said in his remarks. “They turned out in record numbers.

“They realized it is the responsibility of their generation to do a better job than our generation and to keep democracy alive.”

Durbin mentioned Snyder specifically.

“One of those voters, Madame President, was a young woman in our state named Lauren,” he said. “She’s a student at the University of Illinois in Champaign. While she was waiting in line, a reporter with the Illinois Student Newsroom asked her ‘Why? Why did you come out here to vote?’. 

“‘It's important as a student,’ she said, ‘as a young person, to come out and vote for issues that I care about.’”

Snyder said she never expected her words to catch the attention of government officials and gain recognition at a national level. 

“I was really shocked,” she said. “But I thought it was really cool that a little five minute interview I did in Champaign, Illinois, actually went somewhere.

“I think it’s really cool that people care to hear about students and young people’s opinions.”

Villarreal, who wrote the story, said he was surprised, as well.

“I guess I was shocked at first because, you know, you write a story and you just think ‘Oh not that many people are going to read it,’ so I guess it was just like shock,” he said. 

Villarreal said he appreciates government officials who acknowledge the perspectives of younger generations.