It’s back to school time! Every August our community seems to come to life again, with an influx of students moving to campus.
While our community seems to bust at the seams during the first few weeks of fall, soon it’ll settle down. The students will get into their studies, join clubs and participate in activities. As the excitement and newness wears off, these students will be looking for things to do away from campus.
Remember how it felt to be in a completely new place. You didn’t know many – if any – people. You couldn’t find your way around. The sound of trains woke you up at night. Nothing was familiar. You just wanted something to feel like home, to be welcomed, and to feel a part of it all.
Today’s students feel the same way. They may have GPS to guide them, and social media to stay connected to friends back home, but they still are looking for a place that feels like home.
Let’s help them feel at home in Ames and Story County.
As citizens of Ames, this is our opportunity to embrace the students and help them find their place here.
Many of us are here because of Iowa State University. Some of us came to Ames for college and never left, while some of us left and then were drawn back. Many people grew up here, with parents who were connected to Iowa State. Whatever your reason, it’s safe to say that our community is so appealing because of the energy, innovation and amenities of a college town.
Instead of grumbling about the additional traffic, focus on the positive! The diverse student population brings new ideas, backgrounds and experiences that enables our community to grown into an inclusive and caring place for all.
How many communities double in size each August? Our college students make us unique and special, let’s help them see our other unique and special assets. Their being here is what makes Ames so great!
So what can we do? Help them feel welcome. Say hello. Offer directions. If you’re a business owner, welcome them into your shop as if they are longtime customers. Ask them about themselves. Let them know that the people of Ames are glad they are here. Help them see that they have a home in Ames both now and in the future.
Remember what it was like to be in their shoes. Be nice. Be compassionate. And most of all, be welcoming.