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Thought Leader Transit

Building the MARTA Army: How one person can make a difference

By Alison Tallman, Graphic Designer & Daily MARTA Customer

By Alison Tallman,
Graphic Designer & Daily MARTA Customer

This morning, I woke up at 6:30 am on a Saturday, to work on branding for the very new MARTA Army. Strong coffee in hand and sweatpants still tied tight, I have my sketchbook out and I’m ready to go at it. I am inspired after a Wednesday night meeting at Octane with Saba Long,  who works with MARTA’s communications team. She found me by my flirtatious tagging via Twitter of my blog to the MARTA CEO, Keith Parker

Saba is tasked with, among a slew of other ambitious directives, recruiting friends and activists who are interested in the success of transit in Atlanta. This group will become an “army” for the cause. Lets just say—she wants me to put my money where my mouth is. I have lots of ideas, yes, but it was great to hear that there are at least 50 other people on this “mailing list” that do as well. I can’t wait to meet all of them and talk “shop”.

There is a lot to be done but I think that is the most inspiring and exciting part. Yesterday, I read an article about how MARTA is so hot right now. The ridership alone coming into the Buckhead station (where I get off for work) has increased in the last couple months by an unheard of- 27%. Now is definitely the time to bring MARTA to the people and to get people excited—if not just interested—about transit.

Our meeting basically entailed Saba asking me what I could bring to the table and how I would like to be involved. With that, I am drawing out ideas, logos, and marketing lines and will maybe make some compositions via Illustrator later. I am a forever volunteer. It is something my mother instilled in me well and I’ve always followed suit. The idea of donating your time and efforts to better your own city you live in, is definitely, a return on your investment. I have been waiting for an opportunity like this to come along. I spent years volunteering at the Marietta-Cobb Museum of Art when I first moved here. Selfishly, I thought it would bring me important contacts and eventually, a chance at working for a museum. Instead I spent thankless hours handing out martinis and cleaning up after bourgeois art parties.

Volunteering, hobbies and extra-curricular activities just get harder to keep up with when you are older. Your time is of the essence and after a 40+ work week we just lose steam at night and on the weekends. The top three reasons young adults don’t get involved in social causes are:

  1. Time constraints
  2. Skepticism that their involvement will make a difference
  3. A lack of opportunities to get involved

For me, the main reason has always been number two. I wanted to not only be involved with something that really mattered to me but to also have that organization love me in return. Digital creativity is my strong suit and I come with 8+ years of experience under my belt. Why serve cocktails when I can lend my design expertise to promote a public agency that could use a helping hand?

All in all, I am ready to go to work. I get butterflies when I think about all the amazing potential Atlanta has; we just need to pull the trigger. Now, let’s get excited about transit and MARTA!

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