If you notice a little more energy in some City neighborhoods — and slightly slower Wi-Fi at your neighborhood coffee shop — attribute both effects to the annual return of students to the St. Louis region’s 35 or so colleges, universities, technical schools, and vocational schools. Combined, these post-secondary schools enroll tens of thousands of students, many of whom are determined to complement their studies with a vigorous enjoyment of the cultural institutions, restaurants, pubs, galleries, sporting venues, stores, parks, gyms, and theaters of the City. They also fill dorms, apartment buildings, and houses in many neighborhoods. We’re all glad they’re back.
At the same time, thousands of young St. Louisans have left town to attend colleges and universities around the state and across the country. All them of will carry with them the distinctive values of St. Louis and the Midwest; many of them will return home with new skills and perspectives.
I don’t know the relative numbers of comers and goers, but I’d bet that the City is a net seasonal importer of collegians, and that our diversity and amenities are featured elements in the recruiting brochures of most local colleges and universities. Let’s live up to our hype.