Alum Alicia Taylor Dedicated to Improving Community and Environment in Burlington
- By Shari Halik
As a student in the Rubenstein School, Alicia (Turner) Taylor (NR ’05) designed her own major in ecological literacy and sustainable community building with the help of her advisor Associate Professor Clare Ginger. From then on, Alicia dedicated herself to improving the well-being and environment of the Burlington community. She is now the program manager at Burlington’s CarShare Vermont.
During college and immediately after, Alicia worked for Burlington’s Community and Economic Development Office as a member of AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America), a national program designed to fight poverty. She canvassed door-to-door to connect low income residents with city resources.
Alicia then spent six years as coordinator of off-campus services for UVM’s Office of Student and Community Relations. She helped UVM students transition to life off-campus and strengthened the relationship between students and neighbors in Burlington. From organizing block parties to leading community gardening and clean up events, Alicia worked hard to get students involved and connected in their neighborhoods.
“We found that when students got to know their neighbors and developed a sense of place and belonging, they had a better experience off-campus and were also mindful of the impacts of late night noise and disruption on the community,” points out Alicia. “They became ambassadors to their peers to help voice awareness among the student body to reduce these impacts.”
In February 2012, Alicia joined the team at CarShare Vermont, an independent non-profit organization that provides members 24/7 access to a neighborhood-based fleet of vehicles. They currently have 10 vehicles in Burlington, including two on the UVM campus, and will soon be adding a car in Winooski and South Burlington.
“CarShare Vermont was founded by a group of local volunteers in 2008, and our mission is to provide an affordable, convenient, and reliable alternative to private car ownership that enhances the environmental, economic, and social well-being of our region and planet,” explains Alicia. “Car-sharing fills an important mobility need and provides access to a car without the high costs and huge financial burdens of car ownership. Car-sharing leads to less traffic and congestion, less air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, and less greenspace dedicated to parking.”
Alicia’s primary responsibility is a new program called MobilityShare, funded by a generous grant from the Jane’s Trust Foundation. The program offers financial assistance to low- and moderate-income individuals and families interested in joining CarShare Vermont. The organization partners with the Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity to offer free financial education classes which focus on how to budget and plan for transportation. Alicia also helps lead neighborhood outreach efforts such as Park It Pledge, which provides free CarShare Vermont memberships and bus passes to 100 households that pledge to park their personal vehicle for six months and try alternative modes of transportation.
“I am so proud to be a part of such an innovative and inspiring non-profit,” shares Alicia. “We are one of the smallest car-sharing organizations in the country, and we are breaking new ground and proving that it is possible in a city our size. I think we will continue to be a model for other small communities.”
A native Vermonter, Alicia married her high school sweetheart, Todd Taylor (UVM ’06), who shares her passion for supporting the Burlington community. Todd is the media coordinator at Burlington’s City Market where he helps to promote local food. Before that, he worked at Burlington’s Local Motion advocating for bicycle and pedestrian transportation.
Alicia and Todd enjoy traveling by bicycle and have peddled as far as Quebec City and all the way around Lake Champlain. They recently completed their own renovations on their home in the Old North End of Burlington where they volunteer at the Old North End Community Dinner each month.