‘Talk of the Town’ to examine St. Louis issues

Why is downtown St. Louis so empty? Why does MetroLink currently only run in a straight line? Why does everyone in St. Louis ask, “Where’d you go to high school?”

If you’ve ever wanted to know the answer to these or any other question about St. Louis — its history, downtown development, public education or politics — now is your chance to find out.

“Talk of the Town,” a panel discussion of issues relevant to St. Louis, will be presented from 6-7:30 p.m. Sept. 16 in Anheuser Busch Hall, Room 305.

Talk of the Town will be led by a panel of experts who will discuss the important pieces of the puzzle and show how these social issues affect all of us and how we affect them.

“In planning this event, we had an eye on people who may not be from St. Louis and who want to learn more about where they are living now,” said Stephanie Kurtzman, coordinator for community service and women’s programs. “But even if you’ve lived here your whole life, you’ll probably pick up some things you hadn’t heard before.

“It’s going to be a very informative discussion for newcomers and lifelong residents alike.”

The format will be a panel discussion followed by a question-and-answer period. E. Terrence (Terry) Jones, Ph.D., professor of political science at University of Missouri-St. Louis, will moderate. Jones is an expert on the history and politics of St. Louis.

The panel will feature Melanie Adams of Metropolis and Teach For America, Colleen Carlton of the Development for Grand Center Inc. and Blake Youde of St. Louis 2004.

“Many of our students are in St. Louis from quite far away,” Kurtzman said. “Since this is their home now, we really want to show them what the area is all about. And from a community-service standpoint, we want to set a context for the service that we do by providing a glimpse into St. Louis, its people and its neighborhoods.”

The discussion, a Sesquicentennial initiative, is aimed at anyone who wants to learn more about the city of St. Louis and take a step at “getting out of the Washington University bubble.”

“This event should provide people with a broader comprehension of how St. Louis is organized and the various events and projects that are happening throughout the area,” Kurtzman said. “We hope it gives people a bigger picture of St. Louis and sparks them to want to learn more about the city — where it’s been and where it’s headed.”

Talk of the Town is open to the public.

In addition, a “Taste of the Town” dinner will provide members of the University community a chance to try new restaurants and meet the owners and community leaders. Participants will enjoy food from The King and I, Siete Mares, Bosna Gold and Latino Americano Market.

The dinner will take place from 6-9:15 p.m. Oct. 7. Registration takes place at Talk of the Town. A $10 deposit is needed to register, and $5 will be refunded after the event.

Space is limited for Taste of the Town.

For more information on either event, e-mail community_service@wustl.edu or call Kurtzman at 935-5066.