Town hall meeting calls for student input

“So, what’s on your mind?”

Huntington Mayor Steve Williams opened discussion with this opened-ended question at a town hall meeting Tuesday in Marshall University’s Memorial Student Center. 

The town hall meeting, organized and sponsored by the Marshall Student Government Association and the City of Huntington, featured a diverse panel of local professionals and public servants of different fields.

The panel served to answer the questions of Marshall students, Marshall faculty and Huntington residents. Consisting of Williams, City Councilman Alex Vence, Fire Chief Jan Rader and Chief of Police Hank Dial, a variety of ideas and suggestions were available. 

Discussion ranged from voting in the state, to the opioid epidemic, to improvements for Marshall and economic growth in Huntington.

Rader also disclosed that there would be some new additions to the fire station closest to Marshall.

“You have a university fire station that’s very close to here,” Rader said. “I’ve been able to partner with President Gilbert to order a new fire truck for that fire station. It will be delivered in June, and it is going to be Marshall green.”

When asked about poor voter turnout in the state, for both residents of Huntington and students, Williams said everybody needs to understand that they have an assignment they need to take upon.

“We are changing the world right here from West Virginia,” Williams said. “We have begun to believe the lie that we don’t matter, that we can’t compete. If you start to buy into that dream and make it a reality for others, then we start rising ourselves up. Then, we’re not buying into the lie we’re buying to the dream.”

When asked how young people can better help the professionals do their jobs for the community, Dial said, for college students, participation is the key.

“Do vote, do participate, do be active members,” Dial said. “Demand more of folks that are in charge and expect your spot at the table.”

Trey Delida can be contacted at [email protected]