Civic Engagement

OU student serves on MARTA advisory council to make a difference for Atlanta’s public transit users

With train and bus routes spanning the city of Atlanta and its surrounding suburbs, the Metro Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) is an indispensable public service to busy Oglethorpe students. And with a station just down the road from campus, many Petrels use the system every day, traveling to internships, restaurants, sports games, museums or back home.

Hoping to advocate for his fellow students, frequent rider and politics major Mat Campbell ’24 was recently appointed to MARTA’s Riders’ Advisory Council, an all-volunteer working group of Atlanta residents committed to improving the public transportation experience.

Members of the council are selected using several criteria: ridership, commuting experiences and community involvement.

Mat Campbell marching with fellow Petrels in Atlanta

Oglethorpe politics major Mat Campbell, pictured at the Atlanta Pride Parade, has sought ways to be active in the Atlanta community.

The council meets once a month to discuss the state of Atlanta’s transit system. Convening directly with MARTA’s Chief Customer Experience Officer Rhonda Allen, the group is able to submit their propositions directly to upper leadership. Thus far, the council has had input on new railcars, transit projects and emerging technology for gates and fare payment.

As Atlantans dedicated to public service, members of the council have also volunteered at high-profile events in the city.

“One thing that I have enjoyed is being able to volunteer along with MARTA employees at special events such as the Peachtree Road Race and Dragon Con,” says Campbell. “Overall it has been a very cool and informative experience and I feel like I’ve made an impact on MARTA and transportation in the Atlanta region.”

Throughout his experience, Campbell has had the opportunity to explore behind-the-scenes at the public transit giant and learn the ins-and-outs of operations from MARTA leadership. The council has received presentations about finance, transit planning, major bus and rail projects, arts and cultural initiatives, and development.

Campbell and the council were also given special tours of MARTA’s Armour Yard, Lorado Bus Facility and the MARTA Rail Control and Operations Center.

After graduation in the spring, Campbell intends to pursue an internship with MARTA and continue his efforts to better serve the public.

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