College and Business Partnership: Expansion of Rail as Alternative Transportation

When businesses support college endeavors to find solutions to many 21st challenges, good things happen!  The support from CN, "one of the largest railroads in North America" in the form of donating $250,000 for Michigan Technology University's Rail Transportation program to create an education network shows CN's commitment to fostering innovation and 21st Century thinking when it comes to providing education on innovative investments in rail education.  Rail education is necessary in order to meet the 21st Century challenge of reducing the amount of carbon dioxide emissions that emanate from transportation.

Even more interesting is what prompted CN's donation is the idea that "Railroads are an integral part of transportation in North America and we want to assist our partners in developing the system and people can meet the demand."  CN's commitment to expanding rail, therefore, is shown in their support of Michigan Technology University's rail program.  The fact that rail is getting looked at as a viable transportation alternative to driving a car, taking the bus, or flying to and from destinations is an important first step that CN is taking by supporting an education program at Michigan Tech that is trying to break new ground on that very idea.

Education, therefore, is clearly the key to expanding the rail foothold throughout North America and the U.S. particularly where taking a car, riding the bus, or even flying to and from a destination appears to be far more attractive.  By donating such a large sum of money to Michigan Technology, CN has shown that it is committed to the university's goals and objectives which include:  "Conducting research, developing new technologies and preparing students to create the future for a prosperous and sustainable world."  CN, therefore, is an innovative company by knowing and understanding that the future of tomorrow depends on the innovative minds of today.

Such minds for innovation and moving the U.S. to a more "sustainable future" are clearly likely to only happen as a result of colleges and universities fulfilling their obligation of creating future environmental and energy leaders.  Based on Michigan Technology's Mission Statement, it appears they are creating future leaders in the environmental and energy field, who can develop innovative, creative, and groundbreaking ideas about how to make rail a more acceptable and suitable alternative form of transportation here in the U.S.  The goal should be for rail to gain wide acceptance among the population like the automobile.  Hopefully, with CN's donation and Michigan Technology's commitment, rail is one step closer to becoming more widespread in terms of acceptance here in the U.S. as an alternative form of transportation that is used more readily.

Photo Credit:  Greg O'Beirne