Mayor discusses substance abuse, other issues at Coffee with the Mayor


Lexi Browning

Huntington mayor Steve Williams speaks with Marshall University Interim President Gary White and Student Body president Duncan Waugaman Feb. 5 at Coffee with the Mayor.

The smell of caffeine and expresso filled the air Thursday as Huntington Mayor Steve Williams visited Marshall University for another installment of Coffee with the Mayor.

The Student Government Association hosted the event in the Memorial Student Center lobby.

“Today worked out wonderfully,” Williams said. “Every time I come here, there is something

Dr. Monika Sawhney, Marshall’s public health program director, stopped by to discuss a potential partnership to help end substance abuse in the city.

“This has been the main issue we’ve been undertaking since I became mayor,” Williams said. “My drug control police will hopefully be teaming up with her students who have some research that they think will help stop this problem. It’s time that we get all hands on deck and utilize the brain power here on campus.”

Williams said the feedback he receives on campus has also led to several projects during the past two years including Project Safe Housing. This program sends city officials out to do home inspections and ensure everything is up to code, particularly in areas where students live.

“Students expressed concern about some substandard housing conditions last year at these meetings,” Williams said. “So last summer we went out and started doing inspections. Some units were shut down during this, but then some were able to make an investment and bring everything back up to code.”

While the purpose of the event is to offer more open communication between the City of Huntington and the university, Williams said he simply enjoys interacting with students.

“When I walk out of here, I always leave on cloud nine,” Williams said. “The students here uplift me and invigorate me. This is just fun to be able to get out of my office, drink some coffee and chill.”

Williams will return to campus April 2 for another cup of coffee and round of conversation.

Amy Napier can be contacted at [email protected].