What many students don't know about their off-campus neighborhoods is that not long ago it was predominantly a residential area populated by homeowners and their families. Over time, Boston College grew both in terms of physical space as well as enrollment. In the past four decades, BC transformed from a regional institution with a heavy commuter population, to a nationally recognized highly residential University with an enrollment of over 14,000 undergraduate and graduate students - not to mention the increased numbers of faculty and staff.
Many neighbors in Brighton and Newton purchased homes at a time when their neighborhood was heavily owner occupied. However, with increased enrollment of BC students from across the country/world and fewer commuters, more students began renting apartments in the communities surrounding BC's campus. Initially, most rented apartments down Commonwealth Avenue closer to Boston or in Cleveland Circle, but over the years the student population migrated closer and closer to BC's main campus, with many students renting houses instead of apartments.
As more and more residential homes turned into student apartments, many longtime residents began seeing their well kept family friendly neighborhoods transform into a seemingly endless cycle of student-renters coming and going, year after year. Much to the chagrin of the homeowners, the homes-turned-rental-units caused the family friendly feel of the community to diminish, right along with the aesthetics and maintenance of most rental properties.
While many homeowners and their families no longer reside in these communities, those who remain are left to brave the dynamics of their drastically changed neighborhoods. Many are kept up late at night with noise from their student-tenant neighbors or look out their window at trash in the lawn of their neighbors yard or red solo cups stuck in their shrubs.
So next time you have a conflict with your neighbor, please be respectful, understanding, and keep in mind that they likely did not move into your neighborhood, rather we moved into theirs.