Mission Hill has a love-hate relationship with students. On the one hand, we welcome their business and their cultural contributions. On the other, we bemoan their noise and litter and try to herd them into dorms far away.
Students, however, seem to love Mission Hill with no mixed feelings. After all, even the most boorish house-partiers are clearly enjoying the Hill.
It’s worth remembering that love, and that students are often stuck in the middle of a housing tug-of-war not of their own making. One reason more students don’t live in dorms is that they are even more expensive than what our greedier absentee landlords charge.
Student housing inflates local rents and may prevent more long-term residents from moving in. But students aren’t responsible for that. They are simply responsible for their own behavior.
That doesn’t mean every student must become a community volunteer. After all, most long-term residents don’t do that, either.
What it means is remembering that we all love this neighborhood. We’re all in together. Students, like any other local renters, are Mission Hill residents. And each is an individual, not a category called “students.”
Newcomers are joining, not overrunning, a neighborhood. They and longtime residents alike should view it that way.
It’s a simple matter of respect, and the more that goes both ways, the better it will work.