My story begins with a simple question: “Taylor, do you want to come along?”
I grew up in Madison, Wisconsin, and was a competitive figure skater all my life.
In 2011 I joined Disney On Ice as a professional figure skater, performing around the country and world for five great years before “retiring” to attend ISU.
One afternoon in the summer of 2016, while living at home waiting to start classes at ISU that fall, my mom off-handedly asked me if I wanted to come along with her to make calls for Hillary Clinton campaign.
That one question changed my life.
Because of her simple invitation, that night I took my first steps into politics. I was terrified at first but drew strength from the organizers in the office my own age who were fighting to make a difference in their community.
That first volunteer shift turned into more, and in a few weeks, I became an intern on the Clinton campaign.
On ISU’s campus that fall I continued my work, joining the ISU College Democrats, moving into leadership positions, and eventually being elected to my current role as President.
While officially I may be “President” of the ISU College Democrats, in my heart I am simply an organizer.
To me, organizing is systematically helping people discover, wield, and share their innate power.
Whether the College Democrats are knocking doors for a candidate, registering voters, planning rallies, having a discussion, or making trips to Des Moines to lobby at the Capitol, my favorite part what I do is helping facilitate the conversion from passive spectator to engaged participant in our politics and in our world.
This awakening is the legacy I’d like to leave. Of course, I’d love to ensure a strong College Democrats group will continue to work on campus after I leave, but the most impactful action I can take now is to start a ripple effect of realization that carries on far beyond the borders of our campus.
None of this is done individually, and political organizing must above all else be inclusive.
To me, inclusivity doesn’t look like anything. It is a feeling, an environment. It is a space where everyone feels valued and heard – because they are.
With this in mind, the most important advice I can offer new student leaders is to invest responsibility in as many members of your club as possible.
I certainly am not perfect in this area and often find myself trying to do everything on my own. Whether it's because something needs to get done fast, or because I don’t want to burden other people, in these moments I remember my mother’s question and always find people willing to help.
So many of us are just waiting to be included, and even more don't believe they have anything to offer. Be the catalyst. There is so much cynicism in our world, especially around politics.
The best antidote to this cynicism is taking action. Whether simply changing the conversation in the room you’re in or confronting the most powerful forces in our society, we can all shape our world, and often all it takes is a simple question.
I am more than a spectator.