(City of Boston / YouTube)
Mayor Thomas M. Menino is urging the estimated 152,000 college students in Boston to “break the bubble” by spending more time off campus in order to take in more of what the city has to offer.
City officials hope by better welcoming and engaging students, more of them will decide to continue living in Boston after graduation.
“During the school year, I encourage you to break the bubble, by getting off campus, explore our neighborhoods, volunteer, learn about local issues and respect your neighbors,” Menino said in a video posted to YouTube Wednesday that was promoted by city-run social media. “Take advantage of all the city has to offer – our parks, our museums, the Hubway bike share program, internships and jobs.”
“It’s important to me that your time in Boston is safe and rewarding,” he said.
Throughout the coming academic year, Menino’s “Break the Bubble” campaign plans to introduce more programming and events geared to college students as well as better promoting existing events to that demographic, said Justin Holmes, the city’s director of constituent engagement.
By the city making more of an effort to engage college students, “We believe they’ll treat the city better and will be more like to stay here afterward,” Holmes said.
In the video, Menino reminded students and other city residents that they can report problems via the city’s smart phone application Citizen’s Connect. This week, the app launched a new category that allows student to report poor conditions in their rental properties.
“Occasionally, students can become victims of irresponsible landlords,” Holmes said.
Last winter, during a sweep of a portion of Allston, city inspectors found 82 violations ranging from infestations and missing banisters to faulty carbon monoxide detectors, blocked exits, and illegal living spaces at 25 units.
The “Break the Bubble Campaign” also plans to send interns from the Mayor’s Office out into the neighborhoods to greet students and families as they move in this week and to provide information about city services. About 70,000 college students are expected to move in to the city over the next several days.
The campaign has launched a Twitter account which will help promote some of its new programming.
The mayor noted in his video that in addition to the Citizen’s Connect application, anyone in the city can report problems to the mayor’s 24-hour hotline, 617-635-4500, or on Facebook, Twitter or the students section of the city’s website.
“I wish you a successful year,” Menino said. “I hope you decide to make Boston your home now, and after graduation.”