EDITORIAL: Huntington needs you, class of 2023

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EDITORIAL: Huntington needs you, class of 2023

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What are your impressions of Huntington? Maybe you’ve lived here your entire life, or maybe you’d never been to the Jewel City until you visited Marshall University for the first time. Whatever the case may be for you, we here are all too familiar with the negative image that exists within the minds of outsiders, fueled by media frenzies concerning the opioid epidemic and other stereotypes surrounding Huntington. 

Some parents may be worried when sending their children to attend Marshall because of those images produced in the media of dirty needles, or they undoubtedly associate the sound of ambulance sirens in Huntington with responding to yet another overdose call. And this is exactly why Huntington needs our help, because the minority should not overshadow the majority. 

Yes, Huntington has its problems, as every city, town or community in America does, but ours seem to be projected at a much more alarming rate. Our issues become the forefront of not just state, but also national news, and instead of receiving assistance, we almost always receive backlash. You might think this constant negativity upsets us, but you would be wrong. Because for so long Huntington residents have been dealing with others’ perception of who we are instead of figuring it out for ourselves. But one thing is for sure: we are resilient. We push past the adversity and try every day to make Huntington a better place to live, work, learn, create and simply be. 

Huntington is proud of its Open to All campaign, which encourages diversity and acceptance. So many businesses and institutions, including Marshall, happily display their Open to All stickers and the meaning behind them. Huntington is an extremely welcoming city. The My Huntington Movement encourages people to share their positive stories about Huntington, whether they’re lifelong residents or just travelers passing through. This movement helps bring together people of all different experiences with the goal of promoting Huntington and all the good it has to offer. Readers, feel free to join the movement. 

As far as the opioid epidemic is concerned, Huntington is doing all it can to solve issues and improve peoples’ lives. There are numerous recovery centers and shelters for those in need. Marshall’s School of Pharmacy has just been awarded funding for a substance use disorder certificate program to better train students. Those recovering from substance use disorder go on to lead healthy lives and help others who are struggling. Unfortunately, their stories are not shared as often as they could be, but those of us in Huntington know. We know, and we care. We are all doing our part. 

We cannot discuss the positives of Huntington without mentioning its staples, such as Jim’s Steak and Spaghetti House, a restaurant that has been a staple of diversity long before the Open to All campaign. Pullman Square offers unique places to eat and shop. There are comedy and open mic nights at Black Sheep Burritos and Brews, and Cicada Books & Coffee on the West End also as open mic night, as well as a book club, board game night, Saturday story time and not to mention hundreds of books and an inviting atmosphere. New businesses include the Quicksilver Arcade Bar, a fun and exciting place offering drinks and vintage games. If drinking isn’t for you, no worries, because the Marigold is a sober musical and artistic venue, open to all ages. We could go on and on, but part of the Marshall experience is exploring Huntington for yourself; needless to say, Huntington has something for everyone. And these are the things that desperately need to make it into the mass media. 

Marshall needs Huntington, and Huntington needs Marshall; one could not survive or thrive without the other. That is why you, class of 2023, are already so important and crucial to us. You’re able to support these local businesses, and, in turn, support our communities. You can continue to improve Huntington through your education. Volunteer, participate in community service, go out of your comfort zone, meet people, help people. 

Only by working together can we change the way the world views Huntington.   

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