Facilitating move-in for Northeast students living off campus

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Before the start of the fall semester, Petrina Danardatu, a fourth-year student of English and journalism, feels comfortable in the off-campus apartment that she will be sharing with her friends.

“I’m looking forward to being close to campus and getting the most out of my senior year,” says Danardatu.

On September 1, Danardatu moved into an off-campus apartment along with Northeastern students Rebecca Miller and Hannah Mohtadi. The trio were fortunate to snag the location on St. Stephen Street in the heart of a thriving residential neighborhood between the Back Bay Fens and Northeastern.

The site is one of several off-campus locations that Northeast students — mostly returning students — covet for its proximity to the university and mix of commercial facilities.

While the rush of moving-in week can be seen on the Northeast Boston campus, many urban neighborhoods across the city are also welcoming students from the Northeast—an effort supported by countless staff and volunteers.

“We have students in Mission Hill, South End, Roxbury, the Fenway and Fort Hill,” she says John Tobin, Vice President of City and Community Engagement at Northeastern, former Boston City Councilman. “Those are the main areas that our students are in.”

According to Tobin, trying to get students moving off campus is a bit more difficult than operating on campus because of parking and traffic flow issues. The logistics of off-campus moves can also change based on weather, when the Red Sox are playing and as a result of transportation developments, such as the recent MBTA shutdown, Tobin says.

“We have many other partners within the university and beyond,” says Tobin. “We are coordinating and working with the Boston Police Department [Department] and various other city authorities to ensure a smooth move-in for our students but also for those moving out.”

This rotation may more directly impact the quality of life for Boston residents. Therefore, Tobin and his team provide parking alternatives to residents and neighbors who live next door to the students to reduce inconvenience. Parking for the movers is limited to one hour in these residential areas to speed up the process for everyone involved.

“And after your one hour is up, we’ll let you go to one of our garages,” says David Isberg, Northeastern’s associate vice president of city and community engagement. “It’s worked for the past eight years.”

Isberg was on site at the St. Stephen Street site and ensured that students, parents and neighbors had a smooth move-in. It was his 12th week moving in with Northeastern.

“Hundreds of student volunteers are on the street waiting for someone to stop at one point,” says Isberg. “The goal is to make the experience enjoyable for everyone.”

Miller, a fourth-year student of environmental studies, says she’s excited to settle into her new place.

“Just being able to walk around the corner and you’ve got a couple of cafes and a couple of restaurants and stuff,” says Miller. “[Giovanni’s Market] is right there – we love Giovanni’s, it’s so wonderful.”

Mohtadi, also a fourth-year student of international affairs and environmental studies, says Northeastern provided the trio with parking permits for their vehicles and baskets to transport their belongings.

“They were very helpful,” says Mohtadi.

Of course, the rigors of lugging a lifetime’s belongings from a previous unit up and down stairs and into a new living space across town are inevitable — and certainly felt on September 1st. But thanks to Northeastern’s staff and hordes of volunteers, relief was on the horizon.

“For us, it’s about caring for and working with our neighbors and working with our landlords and property owners to coordinate this day,” says Tobin. “But it’s also about our children and their parents; sometimes they travel long distances; Nerves can get on the nerves and all of our teams know this and strive to make things as smooth as possible.”

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