Welcome back, Knights.
Because I’m weird and don’t particularly enjoy working retail, this summer I took a risk in following my passions and completed a fellowship with a local organization. I worked with Our West Bayfront, a group working to improve Erie’s West Bayfront neighborhoods.
Ask anybody who I’m friends with what I love most in life, and they’ll probably list off a few things like my dog, Chipotle, and, oh yeah, this really cool city called Erie.
My boyfriend even recently bought me a shirt for my birthday that says “It’s okay to love Erie” so I can publically profess my feelings for this place.
Crazy enough, I’m not even from within an hour of the city, but coming to school here has made me fall head over heels for it.
Where others may see poverty or blight, I see nothing but potential, and I hope that others, especially Gannon students, can see that too.
I don’t believe we need to go into the particular issues affecting the area, but if you really want to know, walk down AJ’s Way and listen closely and you’ll probably hear upperclassmen expanding on particular problems.
The truth, however, is that, yes, while Erie is certainly facing hardships, there are also groups out there making sizeable differences and people who care about turning Erie in the right direction.
On the West side of town, we have Our West Bayfront, which is matched on the East side by groups like the Bayfront Eastside Task Force (B.E.S.T) and ServErie.
Move past 12th Street and groups like the Sisters of Saint Joseph Neighborhood Network take root.
Where citizens are struggling, there are organizations ready to lend a helping hand.
Their contributions are only further matched by contributions from corporations like Erie Insurance and Marquette Savings Bank, and, not to be forgotten, Gannon University.
We also have a huge municipal election coming up in November where for the first time in 12 years, Erie will be electing a new mayor to serve as a leader of the city.
The Republican candidate is a Harvard graduate and has working experience from the White House and the Australian Embassy.
The Democrat is a Gannon graduate who has over 40 years of experience working for PNC Bank.
You’re crazy if you don’t think that either of these individuals has the chance to make positive changes in our community.
I’m a firm believer that we choose to either see the good or the bad in every situation, and I’m begging of you to see the good in Erie.
We are at a crucial time where the actions of the people living in this city in the upcoming years will ultimately determine whether it continues to decline or experiences a surge of improvement.
If you choose to see the glass half empty, I can’t stop you, but, even if only for a week, try to see the good.
Caution: Once you start, it might be hard to stop, but would that really be so bad after all?