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Office of News & Public Affairs

BC Hosts First N.E. Region Town Gown Conference

CHESTNUT HILL, MA (6-17-10) – The academic year has ended and a majority of New England college students have returned home for the summer months, but a group of academic and community officials are looking ahead to their return in the fall.

On June 16, Boston College hosted the first Boston Area Off–Campus Housing and Student Life Coalition’s New England Regional Town Gown Conference.

The day-long conference drew about 100 college and university officials, city and town officials, local law enforcement and community leaders from New England and New York to share best practices for promoting partnerships and community outcomes.

The coalition is committed to the idea that strong city-wide partnerships and programs enhance the quality of off-campus life for students, neighbors, colleges and universities, and their communities.

“Boston College was happy to host the first New England Regional Town Gown Conference on behalf of the Boston Area Off-Campus Housing and Student Life Coalition. The relationship between colleges and universities and the communities in which they are located is directly linked to the mission, success, and sustainability of each entity,” said BC Office of Student Development Assistant Dean Judith Robinson.

“The goal of this conference,” she added, “was to promote dialogue and share best practices so that a true partnership and collaborative approach to addressing the needs and interests of all constituents can move forward. We are delighted that so many colleges and universities around New England joined us at the conference.”

In addition to Boston College, conference speakers/participants represented the following schools: the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Providence College, Northeastern University, Suffolk University, University of Connecticut, Wentworth Institute of Technology and Emerson College. Among the attendees were representatives from the following institutions: University of Vermont, Hofstra University, MIT, University of Rhode Island, Eastern Connecticut State University and Westfield State College, among many others.

BC presenters were Robinson and William Mills, director of Community Affairs in the Office of Governmental and Community Affairs. Members of the Boston College community in attendance were Vice President for Governmental & Community Affairs Tom Keady, Office of Student Development Assistant Dean Robyn Priest, Community Liaison Steve Montgomery, and Office of Residential Life Assistant Director Marianne Carrabba.

Among other conference participants were William Good, City of Boston Inspectional Services commissioner; a Boston Police Department representative, and representatives of the Allston-Brighton Substance Abuse Task Force. Newton Mayor Setti Warren also attended.

Topics addressed included promoting and sustaining positive town gown relations, approaches to involve off-campus students in activities and programs, off-campus leadership and education programs and enforcing policy off-campus.

Formed in 2008, the Boston Area Off-Campus Housing and Student Life Coalition includes higher education administrators, students, city officials, police, rental agents and neighbors. The coalition is committed to promoting safe, respectful and healthy communities for students living in off-campus housing in the City of Boston.

In addition to the Boston Area Off-Campus Housing and Student Life Coalition, other conference sponsors included the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators/NE Region, the Association of Student Conduct Administration and Off Campus Partners.

--Jack Dunn, Director of News & Public Affairs, 617-552-3351,