Yes, you did read that correctly. Bubbles are dangerous. No, not the bubbles you blew as a kid (or even now). Nor am I speaking of those economic bubbles. The bubbles I am talking about are more insidious than both of the aforementioned topics. They are the bubbles we often fail to recognize, our bubbles of comfort and surroundings.
College is a bubble. A wonderful bubble, but a bubble none-the-less. It is so easy to get wrapped up in everything going on on campus and just as easy to forget that there is a whole big world that exists outside of it. Even with many clubs and extra-curriculars that focus on things off of campus, the scope of those efforts trends towards being narrow and focused.
Working for the Downtown Project could in many ways be seen as college 2.0, which in so many ways is fantastic. I don’t know if there could be another situation where you go into a brand new place with such a vibrant built in social network. I can walk everywhere I need to go (minus a grocery store, which we are working on), and everywhere I go, I will see people I know. There is a steady stream of visitors coming to the area so there is very little if any stagnation. And everyone involved with the project is passionate and committed. How could you not be when your job is to build a better city?
Where this becomes tricky is that it is easy to get caught up in the rightful hype around the project. But if you drive 1 mile in any direction from Downtown, you see that there is a lot more to Las Vegas than what we are doing down here. For me, it is a delicate balance trying to figure out how to help the existing communities right now and working to make Las Vegas attractive to the creative class. Both demographics have to be satisfied for this initiative to work, and that has many challenges in its own right. I have to make a conscious effort to leave the bubble, which is hard when there is so much going on within it. I have been fortunate enough to have had many of my favorite moments in Las Vegas happen where I live, work, and play, but I have been equally fortunate to take the time to explore Red Rock, participate in Voter Registration in areas away from Downtown, and take the time to meet people who are in no way affiliated with the Downtown Project. Hopefully this balancing act will continue over the rest of my time here (and beyond).