There are plenty of resources provided for transfer, off-campus, and commuting students to build themselves a community both at Emerson and in Boston. Living off campus doesn’t necessarily mean anything different for your student in terms of being at Emerson. The reality is that they’re still Emerson students just like any other— they’re simply not as close to the campus center physically. The Emerson community extends far beyond Boylston Street, and there is a wide variety of programming that can help your student adjust to off-campus life.
The Office of Off-Campus Students Services does much more than just help students find apartments. It has programs all year long that keep students engaged. Many of these are happening for the first time this coming year, and are big points of excitement! One new service that will be provided is the opportunity to interact with student liaisons to the off-campus population. This fall there will be a team of community ambassadors who act like RAs for off campus students. These will be four or five students who have previously lived off-campus and are representative of that population. There will be weekly promotional tables in various places on campus run by the ambassadors who will be out there listening to students talk about issues they’ve been facing off campus and discussing what they want to see in programming.
Another new program will be the Explore Your City Series. Each semester we will pick out a few neighborhoods in Boston and a tour guide will take a group of students around to show them the sights! Tours will end in a local cafe or restaurant to give an opportunity to taste the local cuisine. These events will seek to building communities of Emerson students off campus and fight against any possible feelings of isolation that come with living in new neighborhoods.
Other programming starting this coming year will include events that look at life skills students may not know, such as cooking. In Cooking 101 we will reserve a floor of the dining hall and bring students into the kitchen wearing aprons and hats and have a chef show them a live demonstration. For example, say we have $10 for ingredients, what do we do to make the best and healthiest meal possible? There will also be Commuter Appreciation Weeks— which will include free food, games, and more!
September first is always a big day in Boston, as it’s the day most leases turn over. Some give it the name “Allston Christmas,” because the most popular college neighborhood, Allston, has its sidewalks filled with furniture and other items that those moving out of their apartments cannot take with them, and many people go through that part of the city looking for treasure. This year, September first is a Friday, and on that day and the following weekend Emerson will have a program called Neighborhood Walkaround, in which members of the Office of Off-Campus Students Services will walk around various Boston neighborhoods with goodie bags for students containing things like $5 gift cards to local hotspots, Emerson swag, magnets with important city phone numbers, and more!
I asked Jeff Morris of The Office of Off-Campus Students Services what his best advice to a parent of an off-campus student would be, and he said to tell your student to not be afraid to ask questions, stay engaged, and to use the off-campus office and programs as community building resources. If parents ever have questions or concerns the office is also completely open to them and is available all year round. He also recommends reaching out to your students on a weekly basis about basic needs if it’s their first time living in an apartment.
Regardless of where your student is living, coming to Emerson will be the start of an exciting new chapter in both of your lives. Below you will find a list of links and phone numbers of different resources that you can both utilize throughout your student’s time here.
Off Campus Student Services: http://www.emerson.edu/off-campus-student-services
Housing and Roommate Database: https://offcampushousing.emerson.edu/
List of Off Campus Student Programming: http://www.emerson.edu/off-campus-student-services/programs
Mandy Seiner is an Emerson senior Writing, Literature, and Publishing major from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the ketchup capital of the world. She is minoring in Philosophy, Psychology, and finding the best cup of coffee in the greater Boston area. You can usually find her teaching children about creative writing, marathoning scary movie trailers, or getting lost in the woods by her apartment.
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