I went to Google Pittsburgh last night for a celebration of International Women's Day and had an interesting conversation with a CMU student. We were talking about college towns, and she mentioned that she thought Pittsburgh was a college town. Then she said, "I just recently started meeting townies."
Since I went to Allegheny College in Meadville, PA (pop. 13,388), I am familiar with the word "townies." We used it all the time, usually in a derogatory way (I'm not proud). However, Pittsburgh has a population of 307,484, so the statement caught my attention.
According to College Prowler, 86% of CMU students come from out-of-state. The university is known for having rigorous academic standards and a large international student population. Therefore, CMU students can provide a good idea of what out-of-state, well-read, well-traveled people think of Pittsburgh. In her case, she thought of townies, and she rarely (if ever) went out of her way to meet them.
Nothing against the girl that made the comment, she was extremely nice and I enjoyed talking to her. Also, I know we have "townies" in Pittsburgh, except we affectionately call them "yinzers."
Another strange occurrence of an outsider commenting on Pittsburgh happened on an episode of "This Week In Startups" with the CEO of The Resumator, Don Charlton. Here are a few quotes from the California-based host, Jason Calacanis:
"You built the company in...Pittsburgh" starts 21:33
Former advice: "Get the hell out of Pittsburgh"
"You must be one of the bigger startups in Pittsburgh. There aren't that many. There's not really a scene in Pittsburgh."
What do you gain by being in Pittsburgh and then what to you give up?"
Here is the full video: http://thisweekin.com/thisweekin-startups/don-charlton-founder-and-ceo-the-resumator-twist-330/
How do we change the negative perception of Pittsburgh for outsiders?