Farewell to Summer and Welcome Back to the Students!

By Ann Murphy

WebRes_120403_ONeill_AnnMurphy-0085.jpgEvery year, Bostonians breathe a sigh of relief when summer begins: not only does vacation season ramp up, but also the 300,000+ college students temporarily vacate the city.  The MBTA is less crowded (especially the Green line!), restaurants and bars in college neighborhoods have ample room, and the bleachers at Fenway Park are taken up by an older crowd.

But we also know that this reprieve is temporary and even as we say goodbye to a great summer of sun-filled vacation days, we warmly welcome the return of one of the biggest economic engines of the region – college students. Like the swallows returning to Capistrano, we brace for the onslaught of college students returning at the end of every August.

With more than 360,000 college students enrolled in higher education institutions in the Boston Metropolitan area, employing 70,000, they are responsible for an economic impact of an estimated $31 billion. Higher education is a vital part of our local economy and will continue to be a key factor in the future growth of the region.

Over the next few weeks, as we try to maneuver around the double-parked moving vans on Commonwealth Avenue, we also celebrate the fact that every year, Boston gets a big dose of vitality returning to the city.  Many businesses are also rolling out the red carpet for the return of these college students. Our client, RCN Boston, an industry-leading provider of high speed internet, digital TV and phone service, will be out in full force in the predominantly student-occupied neighborhoods of Kenmore Square, Allston-Brighton, Mission Hill, Somerville, downtown Boston and more, offering great deals for college students moving into their new apartments.

Students want and need what RCN provides: lightning fast Internet speeds of 155 Mbps plus digital television for $49.99 per month so that they can surf, game, stream and connect wirelessly to multiple devices through RCN’s powerful fiber-optic network. With same-day free installation, and no contract required, students have the opportunity to be connected to the #1-ranked ISP in PC Magazine for speed and reliability. The RCN Ice Cream truck will also be joining the fun giving out free ice cream to returning students and their parents who are helping them move their belongings and get settled into their new apartments.

Remember, enjoy the last days of summer and be thankful for the return of college students who make Boston such a great city.

Ann Murphy is a senior vice president at O’Neill and Associates, providing public relations and media strategy to clients such as RCN Boston