I'm from Columbus, Ohio. Despite being the home of The Ohio State University, we've got a million other things, so of course I would not consider myself a "Townie" to Ohio State. Athens, however, is a little different. It's a college town. The city's economy is centered around the University. To be a townie is to be someone from a college town.
Setting a few british terminologies aside, a townie on urbandictionary.com was loosely defined as someone from a college town who didn't attend the university, and many might consider this the case in Athens. OU Students sometimes come here and never meet anyone from the area. They see Southeast Ohioans in the newspaper, they interact with some at Wal-Mart, but that's where the interaction stops.
Ohio University provides the children of all faculty and staff with waivers to obtain free tuition at the school. This has provided many families of the area with opportunities to go to school free of this financial burden. Because of this, thousands of Athens natives have been able to attend college who wouldn't otherwise.
I have had quite an opportunity to explore the world of townie-dom. Athens County Young Life has allowed me to actually befriend some of these mythical-to-some beings. Believe it or not, they're kind of normal.
I got a chance to interview some of the towniest townies in the whole townieverse:
I suppose leading YoungLife at Nelsonville-York High School has got me to "get in touch with my inner townie", but more importantly, I've been able to get involved in the community, and my heart for Athens has extended beyond Ohio University. There are many opportunities to get involved in the community, and I would recommend students take advantage of these whenever they get the chance.
Some ways to get involved in the community are located on this map, as well as some of the places Athens natives recommended, places that weren't always so busy with students, but rather hidden gems around the county--food, parks, etc.,: (Click the icons to get thoughts and videos about each location)
View Townie favorites in a larger map
Other ways to get involved,