A public campaign called Transit Future that was launched this month to advocate for more investment in Chicago-area transit was put together in part by a dynamic Roosevelt University Sustainability Studies major who recently graduated from the University.
Through the Sustainability Studies program, Ron Taylor did an internship for 18 months beginning in December 2011 with the Center for Neighborhood Technology (CNT), a transit advocate that is making the case for significant new investment from Cook County government for more public transit infrastructure in Chicagoland.
“I took the internship to get involved in sustainability issues, and this was an experience that taught me a lot about policymaking,” said Taylor, a 2013 Roosevelt graduate who helped to introduce and build support for Transit Future among Cook County commissioners before the actual campaign was launched.
Taylor worked with Jacky Grimshaw, vice president for policy at CNT and director of Transit Future, in setting up meetings and in actually meeting with Cook County commissioners to discuss the importance of earmarking new revenue streams for expansion of public transportation in Cook County.
"Ron was instrumental in getting the campaign off the ground,” said Grimshaw, who launched Transit Future on April 3 with Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel at her side. “He scheduled meetings and he went with me to those meetings to talk about the resaons why we need this campaign,” said Grimshaw, who is working with the Active Transportation Alliance and with elected officials to build support for creating a major new public transit revenue stream.
As a result of the experience, Taylor, who currently works full-time in sales and marketing, hopes to go on to study public policy at Harvard University or possibly enroll in law school. “I learned so much through the Sustainability Studies program and the internship and I want to apply what I’ve learned as a sustainability policymaker,” he said.
Michael Bryson, associate professor of humanities and director of Roosevelt’s Sustainability Studies program, said Taylor has the critical thinking skills, ethical engagement and desire to impact public policy that are needed to be a success in the sustainability field.
"Ron is one of those go-getter students who didn’t just look for an internship related to urban sustainability; he made one happen,” said Bryson. “He was in on the Transit Future initiative from the ground up and did a huge amount of background research and political contact with our Cook County Board members. I am proud of him and look forward to seeing where the Transit Future sustainability initiative goes in the future.”
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