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BC Can Do More To Help Students With Move-In Process Off Campus

During my three move-ins at Boston College, the concept of “Allston Christmas” has always baffled me. Hand-me-down furniture. Bed bug infested mattresses. Carolers singing on Harvard Ave. U-Hauls parked on both sides of the street. Thousands of college students moving into their new homes. And this is all in a span of a few days—creating chaos for the city of Boston and anyone trying to navigate the streets of Allston, Mission Hill, Fenway, and Brighton.

For those unfamiliar with Boston’s self-proclaimed holiday, Allston Christmas refers to the days leading up to classes—particularly Sept. 1—when college students move back into the city and nearly all of the leases in Boston turnover for the next year. That means the streets in Allston—the most popular neighborhood for college students in Boston—are full of renters moving in and out on the same day. On Sept. 1 alone, 63 percent of Boston rental leases began and students across the city converged on the same day, according to The Globe.

The beauty of Allston Christmas? It’s a hoarder’s heaven.

The streets are full of items for the taking. You can pretty much have your fancy of a microwave, sofa, or dresser during this wonderful time of the year. I even found a very nice coffee table next to a dumpster that is now sitting in my living room (don’t worry Mom, I promise it is clean.)

The problem with Allston Christmas is that the Sept. 1 move-in date is the same every year, but the first day of classes is not. BC started classes on Monday. BU, Harvard, Emerson, and Simmons all started classes on Wednesday. Tufts starts classes Sept. 8. Northeastern begins Sept. 9.

All of the major universities in Boston besides BC started classes after Allston Christmas this year, giving their students who are living off campus time to move in and get settled before classes. With classes at BC starting Monday, the University put its students who live off campus in a difficult position.

Many BC students were forced to be on campus for various clubs, sports, or other activities before the first day of classes. For those living off campus, there were very little options. I stayed with a friend in Stayer Hall for nearly a week, which I recently found out is technically a violation of ResLife Policy, which dictates that “guests” cannot stay longer than four days at a time.

Others, like Pasquale DiFilippo, MCAS ’17, had no options for the first two days of class. He and his roommate paid for a hotel room for two nights before being allowed to move into their apartment on Tuesday.

“I think it would have been ideal if we started classes Wednesday,” he said. “It would have been more convenient for all of the students living off campus.”

The City of Boston is doing a great job in trying to get rid of the idea of Allston Christmas altogether. The Inspectional Services Department (ISD) and other members of the Walsh administration are working with landlords and universities to stagger the moving mayhem through Labor Day, as opposed to cramming a majority of it on Sept. 1, according to The Globe. Over the past two years, the city has made the day significantly easier for everyone by dispatching 50 ISD inspectors to help inspect addresses for safety and sanitary violations, and sending others to clean up the mountains of trash on the sidewalks and make the transition as smooth as possible.

For BC, the problem of Allston Christmas is going to be more prevalent in the near future. For the next three years, undergraduate classes are scheduled to begin before Sept. 1, and our students living off campus next year are going to have to find another place to stay for a few days. The City of Boston is taking some important steps in working with landlords and universities to avoid move in chaos in the future, but BC needs to do more to support its nearly 1,000 students living off campus each year.

Featured Image by Will Mennicken / Heights Staff

September 2, 2015