Lighting the Path Ahead

How to grow the population

in Okmulgee

 

If we are to grow our population, I believe everyone in town needs to be ready, willing, and able to share the compelling story of Okmulgee and be able to explain the advantages of living in a small town. OSUIT has just moved several young adults into downtown Okmulgee. What a great opportunity for us to welcome them and help them get acquainted with our town. Who knows, if we can help them see what a great place this is, some of them might even stick around after graduation. 

Q: How can we get more young adults and young families interested in living in Okmulgee?

A: People will invest in Okmulgee if they believe Okmulgee is a good investment. A town is worth investing in when it offers a quality of life that people find desirable. If we want people to move to Okmulgee, we must help them learn about the great quality of life that can be found here. 

This will be my sixth and final installment relating the advantages of living in a small town. In previous weeks, I discussed the social, economic, physical and mental, timesaving, and environmental advantages. If you missed one, they can still be viewed online at osuit.edu/president. This leads to my final category, the cultural advantages of living in a small town:

 

1. There’s a strong sense of community. Through tragedy and good times, people in small towns bond together and support one another. People will smile and greet you in passing. They will ask you how you are doing and really want to know. People walk slower, talk longer, and care more.

 

2. It’s easier to build a life, not just earn a living. There is strong sense of belonging in a small town. The people you pass on the street aren’t just strangers, they’re part of a real community. It’s easier to put down roots and become settled in a place where you feel like you fit in and are accepted. 

 

3. There are all kinds of fun quirky traditions. Just like in a close-knit family, all small towns have unique traditions and special annual events that bring the community together. If you take the time to get involved, you’ll fall in love with all the unique cultural activities and small town festivals.

 

4. There’s many ways to volunteer your time and get involved. In a small town, there’s no shortage of church groups, civic clubs, or social organizations to join and become engaged in fulfilling projects and good works. This is a great way to make new friends and develop your abilities.

 

5. It’s easy to stay informed. While there may be limited formal news outlets, everyone is a reporter. If something big happens, you hear about it. Small towns are great about using social media to post events, lost pets, items for sale, and any information of local interest. 

 

How we sell this community to potential new residents is critical. I hope my notes on this topic have inspired some of you. Thank you for giving me this public forum. Your continued comments and questions are invited at osuit-president@okstate.edu

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Dr. Bill R. Path is president of Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology and board member of Okmulgee Main Street Inc. 

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