Growing up in a Chicago suburb, Kent Taylor always knew he wanted to become a Spartan. His family has always bled green – his dad and two sisters attended Michigan State University. As a big fan, Taylor desired to also pursue his diploma from the green-and-white university on the other side of Lake Michigan.
What he didn’t realize then was how much he’d eventually learn to desire a much green-er planet.
Attending MSU in the 1960s, Taylor was initially interested in social justice causes. He later found his true calling in environmental advocacy.
“The ‘60s struggles for social justice were affecting me greatly by my junior year, but being a fisherman and outdoorsman, I also became concerned about our planet and inspired by that era’s emerging environmental movement,” Taylor said. “The pictures that came back from the Apollo mission were a revelation. That beautiful ‘blue marble’ was gorgeous, yet very small, delicate and alone.”
To scratch the social justice itch, Taylor pursued a master’s degree focused on affirmative action policy. But the images of the Earth inspired him so much, he also vowed that environmental stewardship would be part of his avocation, regardless of his vocation. After decades of activism and educational outreach, he ultimately realized his goal was to respond to and reduce the collective carbon footprint.
“I didn’t realize the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources was researching renewable energy, but that is exactly what they do in the Department of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering,” he said.
A student caller in the MSU Greenline program called Taylor asking for a donation to MSU. Although Taylor graduated from the College of Social Sciences, the student caller listened well to Taylor’s current interests and connected him with the CANR faculty and staff working in sustainable energy.
“It all just fit so well,” he said. “I have to credit the Greenline student who called me asking for a donation. She did so well listening to my interests and finding the department that fit so well with my passion.”
Read the full story on the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources website.