Belmont and the city of Nashville share many characteristics.
Both have experienced exponential growth in the last decade. Both have become international destinations for students and young people. Both are now billed as the “it” place to be. Their demographics are changing: Nashville is no longer just the music capital, and Belmont is not (completely) overrun with music business majors.
Nashville and Belmont have constructed tremendous buildings in the last 10 years.
Under Mayor Karl Dean, Nashville has added the Music City Center, Ascend Amphitheater and a stadium for the Sounds. Under President Bob Fisher, the university has added almost a dozen new buildings in the last 14 years– most recently the Johnson Center.
Dean and Fisher have both been tested with controversy.
In 2010, Dean had to deal with the rebuilding following the flood, and also in 2010, Fisher weathered the controversy surrounding the former women’s soccer coach. Both leaders have become friends as well. Dean helped break ground on several of Belmont’s new buildings and will join the Belmont staff next semester as a guest lecturer.
Both the city and the school have had their fair share of identity crisis. Belmont is no longer a sleepy southern Baptist school and Nashville is no longer simply a small music city. Both are at the crossroads in their development — their future in the hands of their leaders.
Last night, Nashville elected Megan Barry to be the next mayor. And if tradition holds, she will be mayor for the next eight years. The continued success of not only Nashville, but Belmont as well, rests on her shoulders.
As members of not only in the Belmont community, but in Nashville as well, need to do everything we can to help Barry be a successful mayor. If Belmont still wants to bill itself as “Nashville’s University,” then its students need to help Barry in keeping Nashville an “it” city. That means becoming more involved in civic discussion, taking a more active role in our neighborhoods and volunteering.
Belmont and Nashville’s futures are intertwined. If one fails, then so will the other. But if one succeeds, then both institutions will reap the rewards. Fisher, along with all of Belmont, needs to reach out to Barry and cement our partnership.
Continuing this partnership with Barry is the only way both Belmont and Nashville can still be an amazing, diverse and thriving pair of communities.