On March 1, the city of Rutland came together to vote and elect a Board of Alderman, and for the second time in a row it included Castleton University professor Michael Talbott.
Interviewed last week about being re-elected, the Media and Communication professor talked about his hopes and plans for Rutland’s future.
“I think a lot of the big things that I wanted to accomplish my first term, I discovered take a really long time,” Talbott said. “Things just go really slowly and why it was so important to me to get another term was to actually see these things to the finish line.”
One thing that has always been at the top of his (the) to-do list is bridging the gap between Castleton University and Rutland City.
“Rutland has been important to me as a Castleton professor for a long time,” Talbott said. “I’ve been encouraging all of our students to do off-campus internships and have as many of them as possible rooted in Rutland city and serving Rutland County. Rutland city is the heart of this community, even for people who live in other towns. There have been so many initiatives to tie what we do here at Castleton to Rutland city. They can’t be separated. My desire is to serve students here, to see local students stay here after graduation, or return here later. And maybe see people who came here for school to realize there’s a lot of potential here.”
This mindset has not gone unnoticed by Castleton students.
“I’ve been living here for two years now,” said Castleton senior Sophia Buckley-Clement, who is currently interning at the Rutland Herald. “And I’ve certainly considered it. As someone who you know, doesn’t exactly have a full plan for after graduation, the opportunity that I’ve had in Rutland with the Rutland Herald has kind of shown to me that this kind of community is a lot more diverse than maybe I thought it was when I first moved here.”
The Board of Aldermen works closely with other members of the city to make the area desirable to all types of people. But something about Castleton University makes the call to Rutland County so much louder.
“One thing that we have said for years now is that Castleton University is an economic driver in our county,” said Lyle Jepson, executive director of CEDRR. “It is critical that we work hand in hand with the university and local businesses and local government. The more we can do together, the more successful everyone is going to be.”
Jepson said Talbott and the rest of the board members serve a vital role to grow Rutland.
“It is our neighbors helping run our city. Each of the people that are on the board of alderman are folks that live within the city, and they have a passion for what is happening currently in Rutland, and what will happen in the future,” he said. “I think that every member of the board has a passion for Rutland, and they want to make sure future generations can enjoy prosperity and a beautiful city.”