Is Wichita Satisfying the Needs of Millennials?


We spend an unacceptable amount of our paychecks on fancily named coffees. We are notorious for putting off studying until the last minute. Electronic devices are essential for our proper functioning and we fail at holding face-to-face conversations. We are the many, the proud, the mighty Millennials.

As negative as the reputation of Millennials may become, there’s a truth that none of us can hide from, and that truth is this: One day, we will be the ones taking on the various roles of our communities and ultimately, running this nation. Frightening? Not so much. I speak on behalf of (almost) the entirety of our generation when I say this: We are doing our best. Our expectations are undoubtedly high, but most certainly achievable. I mean, you’ve surely seen the social media empire that fellow Millennial, Mark Zuckerberg, has built.

Having been born during a time of advancing technology, our generation knows little about a world without iPhones, fast food, and Call of Duty. Millennials just have different needs, as one may put it. Although Millennials vary in their interests, talents, and individual contributions, there are a few qualities that they commonly look for in their community. Behold, the four common needs of a Millennial.


1. We thirst for unique opportunities.

In order for a Millennial to be satisfied with their place of residency, he/she must be provided one-of-a-kind opportunities. Give us a reason to take pride in and brag about our city! Recently, Donald Trump made his way to the air capital city. In reaction to this news, one will jump in triumph, the other feels shivers down their spine. Regardless of one’s political views, it can be unanimously agreed upon that the man holds great power and fame. For a figure who possesses an extensive amount of the nation- no, WORLD’s attention, Wichita has to be doing something right to be drawing him here. Millennials are also constantly seeking opportunities that will help propel their career goals. With Wichita being a powerhouse in the airplane industry, the copious amount of internship openings has been catching the eyes of ambitious Millennials, not to mention the home court advantage we have with renowned multinational corporation Koch Industries.


2. We desire a sense of individual value.

Happiness has long been defined as achieving the following: graduating college, being offered a stable full-time job, growing a healthy family, picking up a hobby or two, and decrescendo-ing into a peaceful retirement. These achievements are seen by Millennials as basic societal expectations, and to reach true happiness is to achieve more, be more, and do more. Millennials want to know they are leaving an impact on the world as individuals in an increasingly populous world. We are not a generation that will sit on our hands when we are in disagreement. We will gather, we will speak our minds, we will protest, and we will be relentless. For this reason, we are attracted communities that will listen, value us as individuals, and are susceptible to change.  


3. We thrive on technology (and can’t fathom the thought of life without it).

Through entering the world during the digital age, we have been spoiled. In other words, our “old fashion” is efficient and convenient. Given, I vaguely recall scenes of my childhood during which I blew the dust out from a tape rewinder and played on my father’s brick-sized cell-phone. These foggy memories have been weighed down by the following years, during which technology advanced in an exponential manner. We possess an unhealthy expectation for our technology to function properly at all times. Tantrums are thrown when our phones experience glitches, when YouTube videos freeze, and when Microsoft word doesn’t format our essays correctly. Let’s not mention the world-ending infuriation that occurs when we find out there’s no wi-fi. Time is of the utmost value to Millennials, and it doesn’t sit well with us when we feel as though it’s being wasted. A city known for adhering to its “traditional ways” doesn’t attract the technology and convenience-thirsting Millennials.  


4. We need to be entertained, and entertained often.

One week there’s a viral video featuring a brunette girl singing about the last day of the work week, the next there’s one of a man telling us to hide our wife and hide our kids. The following, a Korean man in a neatly pressed suit and Ray-Bans teaches us how to Gangnam Style. Fast forward to a year later, and here we are, dancing as if we’re sneezing into our elbows and overhyping white Vans. Moral of the story is that Millennials are constantly seeking ways to be entertained. It’s what keeps us sane between the demands of school, work, family, friends, significant others, and other excuses our parents are tired of hearing. In the entertainment category, Wichita has actually been doing an admirable job. With the installment of Intrust Bank arena, we’ve welcomed the presence of various rap artists, country singers, comedians, and other praiseworthy performers. Wichita also has its fair share of annual musical theater shows, festivals, and area-wide fairs.

In summary, a common Millennial seeks unique opportunities, a sense of individual value, dependable technological advancements, and a plethora of entertainment options. Wichita fulfills a majority of these needs, but as one may observe, there are improvements to be made in the areas of change-susceptibility and overall momentum of the city in boosting Millennials to their fullest potential. I’d be at fault not mention the tremendous growth Wichita has endured over the last few years, with the Wichita State innovation campus, the downtown renovation projects, and the addition of numerous attractive businesses. The air capital city of the world is certainly moving in a positive direction, and if the growth continues, Wichita will certainly grasp the attention of the many, the proud, the mighty Millennials.

- Amy Vuong