Interview with Nashville Activist Colin Pigott

I have had the pleasure of working with Colin Pigott at local Nashville startup JumpCrew for the a little over a year now. Upon first meeting Colin, one quickly learns how deeply he cares about the Nashville community. Not only has he lived here his whole life (yes, he’s one of those elusive Nashville ‘Unicorns’), but he is also heavily involved with a number or great causes benefiting the city.

Colin, albeit very busy, is very generous with his time, and was able to offer me some insight into some of the programs he works with (and why they make Nashville such a great place to live). If you’re interested in learning more about any of these programs or joining one of them, please refer to the links at the bottom of this post.

Camille Barron: Tell me more about how you’re helping mentor Nashville youth.

Colin Pigott: Tennessee is the first state to guarantee that all high school graduate students can get two years of free college, community or technical. TNPromise is a program that needs volunteers to mentor kids through the process of applying for the scholarship and selecting their college. Every year I get a new group of kids and help them & their parents through the process. A lot of them are the first kid in their family to go to college. It’s a very low time commitment and you can really help people who need it!

CB: What is your involvement with global brand Creative Mornings and why is it important for a small city like Nashville?

CP: I am the chapter host, which is CM parlance for the ‘leader’. I’ve only been doing it for about six months, but I volunteered with them for two years before that. What’s great about it being a global thing is that it plugs our community into a global community of professionals and those who identify as creatives. Creative Mornings is something that has taught me the meaning of the cliché “the more you put in the more you get out.” The more time & effort I put in, the more fun, new people connections, love, & inspiration I get out of it. It is a volunteer opportunity, but I’m getting paid in social currency.

CB: As one of their ambassadors, what can you tell us about Walk Bike Nashville?

CP: Walk Bike Nashville is really simple. We advocate for a more walkable, bikeable, liveable Nashville. I think community involvement is important, and this is just one way I’ve chosen to get involved with policymaking and community building in Nashville. Neighborhoods that are more walkable provide more opportunities for people to interact with each other and their physical environment – not to mention, it’s always a good thing to reduce our dependence on cars.

CB: How did you get involved volunteering for TIRRC (Tennnessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition)?

CP: I honestly think it all starts with Southern hospitality for me. I’ve always been passionate about making people feel at home; in my city, and in my country. It’s honestly just a compulsion for me. It really inspires me to think that I could, by doing very small things, and in helping in just a few small ways, could really change someone’s entire experience and help them understand that they’re going to be able to make a life here. Immigrants are one thing, but refugees especially are coming out of a very heavy experience. You’re really looking at somebody that had to leave their home behind and everything they know and they didn’t want to; they’ve been in a camp for 2 years, they had no idea where they would go in the world, and they just happened to land here in Nashville, Tennessee, and they just need someone to be nice to them.

CB: What is your favorite Nashville program, event, or initiative that you’ve worked with?

CP: I think Creative Mornings is my favorite because it’s kind of a blank canvas. You can make it what you want – you can go and meet a bunch of people, or you can go and just listen to an amazing speaker. People aren’t handing out business cards there, they’re just talking to each other. I just like the idea of making connections and drawing inspiration with no agenda.

CB: Do you have anything else exciting coming up that we should know about?

CP: I’m going to cover the food at Bonnaroo for Edible Nashville magazine! I’m also just really interested in helping people find their people. I would like to help people find their community by making connections to other communities (like Creative Mornings). With the business community in mind, I and two friends are creating an entirely new kind of community that will help creators (not just creatives) of all kinds find each other, and help people who have already achieved a lot to achieve more or find a new creative outlet or venture.

For more information about getting involved with any of Colin’s causes, please visit the reference links below!

 

Follow Colin on Twitter: @mecolinp

 

TN Promise: http://tnpromise.gov/volunteers.shtml

Creative Mornings Nashville: https://creativemornings.com/cities/nsh

Walk Bike Nashville: https://www.walkbikenashville.org/

TIRRC: https://www.tnimmigrant.org/volunteer/