As you prepare for your first meeting together on August 28, here is, in my humble opinion, a broader and very relevant perspective worth reading and considering.
I think that the last five words of the Webster Groves mission statement are our community's most interesting and important - a traditional, yet progressive community - because the words, traditional and progressive, are often in direct conflict with one another, raising the question and choice, "What kind of community do we want to be, in any given situation?"
Personally speaking, tradition, history and character are all vital and defining characteristics of Webster Groves. But the dark side of tradition is the pursuit of a deadening concept: preserve the status quo, which means keeping things just the way they are, free of change and risk and totally safe, routine and predictable.
As publicly written and spoken, this is one of the Residents FOR Webster Groves opposition group's primary purposes - to preserve the status quo of Webster Groves - driven by their total obsession to stop Webster University from crossing Lockwood.
Wonder if Gerry Welch, when first elected mayor, was asked what her vision and legacy was for Webster Groves and she answered, "My only mission is to preserve the status quo." I don't think she would have been elected again.
But as you know, progressive means something very different - it's about thinking differently, daring to take a risk, daring to break the rules and daring to think outside the box to create new ideas and new ways of doing things.
Consider the progressive, advanced new wing of traditional Webster Groves High School. Or consider the progressiveness of the Art & Air idea on the Eden green space and what it has done over the last none years for Webster Groves and its reputation in the arts.
Likewise, the fundamental purpose of institutions of higher learning such as Eden Seminary and Webster University is NOT to preserve the status quo. That's why its called liberal arts and not conservative arts.
To me, our higher education institutions are sacred ground and the bastions of progressive, creative thinking that teaches, inspires, grows, changes, creates, makes a difference and moves the world forward.
Therefore, my personal hope for your Aug. 28 meeting and beyond is that you not take the path of tradition and preserving the status quo, but seek progressive solutions that are courageous and unafraid to pioneer new ideas and thinking that create a true win-win-win solution for the good of the cherished community we are ALL essential members of.
Good luck and thanks for listening.
Dave Buck, Citizen of Webster Groves
See related letter to the editor: Resident Asks Webster Community to Support Future Educational Institutions
See previous stories/blogs:
- Eden Seminary Seeks Changes in Conditional Use Permit for Future Plans
- Webster Council May Have Meeting on Future Institutional Collaboration
- One Way to Resolve the Eden Master Plan and its Implications for Webster University and our Webster Groves Community
- Eden Seminary Public Hearing Postponed Once Again
- Decision On Eden Master Plan Postponed Again
- Resident Proposes Ideas for Use of Eden Seminary Green Space
- Residents Express Concerns Over Eden Seminary Master Plan
- Webster Council Postpones Decision on Eden Seminary Master Plan
- Eden Seminary Seeks City's OK for Consolidation of Campus