St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman on Tuesday followed through on his State of the City pledge to consult college students on what they liked about St. Paul and what the city might do to persuade them to live and work there someday. He spent an hour each at Concordia University, Macalester College and Metropolitan State University for discussions on the city’s pros and cons. Here’s a sample:

“You can be in a big city and still have all the opportunities available to you, but there are also places you can go inside the city that can give you a break from that world.” David Edwards of Dallas, a Concordia senior majoring in history.


“I went out for Nepalese food with my mom, and that was just amazing that you could go down Grand Avenue and see all these different cultures represented in food.” Alex Paczek of Raleigh, N.C., a Macalester junior majoring in political science and Hispanic studies.


– Bo Scarim of New York, a Macalester senior.


“We need more networking opportunities where the focus is specifically social equality. ... We have Jazz Fest, but do we feel invited by you personally?” Marcel Malekebu of Minneapolis, a Concordia junior majoring in sociology.


“It’s so difficult to bike around here in comparison [with Portland, Ore.] ... the drivers here, there’s no mentality of respecting the bicycles.” Jesse Meisenhelter of Portland, a Macalester freshman.


“If I’m going to stay in St. Paul, I really want to be convinced that these are cities that are going to continue to be really fun and really interesting, and cities that I can brag about to people back in New York.” Alex Schieferdecker of New York, a Macalester senior majoring in geography and urban studies.


Coleman said afterward that he was struck by the desire for a part of town identified with young people. “These are kids that are going to have options to go anywhere they want,” he said. “Really understanding what they are looking for in a community is critical to planning our work agenda for the future.”

Kevin Duchschere