Welcome Students: Five Things to Know When You Move to Boston


Whether you’re a new or returning student, welcome to Boston. We’re a community of neighborhoods with the advantages of both a world class city and a small town. We invite you to take advantage of the quality of life and diversity that make this such a special place to live.

In addition to studying and learning, Boston has a lot to offer - institutions like the Boston Public Library, great museums, music and sports, parks and waterfronts, and a varied economy with job and internship opportunities to explore.

On behalf of Mayor Martin J. Walsh, our 24-Hour Hotline (617) 635-4500 is always ready to take your questions and concerns. Read on to learn more.


Having trouble with your landlord? Concerned about unsafe or unhealthy living conditions? The City of Boston can help. Call us to arrange an inspection by Inspectional Services. And, our Rental Housing Resource center, which offers free mediation services, can be reached by calling 617-635-4200 or online here; the City of Boston’s Constituent Service Hotline is open 24/7 at 617-635-4500.

To set up your electric, gas, cable and internet accounts, call here:

  • NStar Gas and Electric: (800) 592-2000
  • National Grid Gas: (800) 322-3223
  • Comcast: (800) COMCAST
  • RCN: (800) 748-4726
  • Verizon: (800) VERIZON



To find out your trash and recycling collection schedule, click here

For information about what can be collected, like mattresses, TVs and potted plants, visit our trash directory here, or call the Mayor’s 24 Hour Hotline.


Looking for an affordable & eco-friendly way to get around the city?
Take the T! Get a Charlie Card, or, get a New Balance Hubway bike share membership and start riding today. 

Living off-campus and need a resident parking sticker?
Click here to check requirements and apply for a sticker. Your car must be registered to your new Boston address. To change your registration or get a Massachusetts driver’s license, visit the Registry of Motor Vehicles



Be mindful of your surroundings.
Always be respectful of your neighbors. When you move into any city, it’s important to know how to stay safe: at night, walk in groups and avoid distractions like headphones and cell phones. Take note of your school’s police department number, and for emergencies, dial 9-1-1.

Emergencies can happen anywhere, anytime.
Alert Boston, the City’s emergency notification system, will keep you connected. Sign up for alerts on your phone, by email or text message.

Balcony, roof and outdoor grilling safety.
Decks, roofs and balconies pose safety hazards when allowed to deteriorate or when misused. Charcoal grills must be on the ground away from buildings. Propane tanks are only allowed on first floor porches with steps to the ground.


Find out about volunteer opportunities, and make sure to register to vote! Join the conversation online with your city via our social media directory, and stay in touch: download the Citizens Connect mobile app to report issues in your neighborhood, and here are even more ways to reach us. Don’t forget to join us for a student move-in Twitter Chat with Mayor Walsh (@marty_walsh) at 2:30pm on Friday, Sept. 5.

More: boston.gov/students



4 Reasons To Sign Up for #HubHacks Hackathon

The City of Boston’s first-ever civic hackathon is August 9-10 at District Hall in Boston. Mayor Walsh, the Department of Innovation & Technology and the Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics want your ideas for how technology can improve Boston’s permitting process. From business-owners to home improvement projects, tech-friendlier permitting supports a more transparent and accessible city government.

These four challenges are on the table this weekend. Sign up and get more details here, and follow @DoITBoston on Twitter for live updates all weekend.



  • Which Permits Do I Need?: A single project may require multiple permits. Applicants need a clear, intuitive, and enjoyable guide that will help applicants identify the permits they need to start working.

  • What’s my Address of Record?: Every project needs to be linked to an address in the City’s master database.  In the current system, finding your address is tougher than it should be. Our new online system needs a clear way to search addresses and suggest alternatives, getting it right the first time.

  • Can I Apply for that Permit Online?: With September 1st weeks away, developers will try their hand at a challenge to provide a very practical solution using the City’s new API - creating a simple online and/or mobile application for Street Occupancy permits required to block space for a moving truck.  

  • Where am I in the Approval Process?: Complex building projects can take months to review and permit, even if the process works correctly. Residents needs a clear way to track all permits associated with their project, which helps them understand how close they are to getting underway. 


HubHacks: Civic Hackathon August 9-10


Mayor Walsh declared May 3 Eugene Mirman Day in the City of Boston, on the occasion of the second annual Eugene Mirman Comedy Festival taking place this weekend. Watch what happened when Eugene came to City Hall to pick up his official proclamation. 


A hokey crew helps perform detail work sweeping Boston streets; in this behind-the-scenes video, go along with one at work. This spring, Mayor Walsh has doubled the number of these crews in the City of Boston. Join our efforts to make Boston beautiful this spring by signing up for Boston Shines, the citywide cleanup, now taking place three weekends. 


Make your spring clean GREEN! In Boston, there are a few ways to participate in recycling - this handy PSA explains how to request a recycling bin, or, use a special sticker to transform an existing container into a bin. Get more spring cleaning tips from the City of Boston at http://bit.ly/scrubthehub. 


It’s finally spring in Boston! Mayor Walsh is celebrating by doubling up on the number of hokey crews sweeping the streets, commencing with a new season of street cleaning, and welcoming you to join us in beautifying Boston. If you’re in the middle of spring cleaning and want to schedule a pickup for special bulk items, this PSA will make the process easy for you. You can find more tips and resources around spring in Boston at boston.gov/spring.


Boston Public Works is ready for spring cleaning, no matter what

Just because the calendar pages turn, that doesn’t mean it’s the last you’ll see of winter’s snow salter trucks. But that’s not because it’s a long winter - that’s because new models of trucks actually double as street sweepers, and can be converted between dump to salt truck and back again, depending on need. That means our Public Works crews are able to quickly convert between spring clean to snow storm mode, as New England weather can dictate.
Boston’s Public Works fleet now includes 21 2012-14 model year Freightliner all-season dump trucks, which increases efficiency and turnaround time. The “Hi-Way” brand all-season trucks can convert between plowing and spreading salt to hauling loads of debris within minutes, instead of having to mount an auxiliary salt spreader, which takes longer. 

We have it on good authority that spring is just around the corner. Really. Regular spring sweeping start April 1, in addition to posted schedules - check here for your street’s schedule. 
What’s really on Mayor Walsh’s dashboard? Read more about how Mayor Walsh and his team are using real-time data visualization to help manage the city, from constituent service and 911 data to social media sentiment. 

What’s really on Mayor Walsh’s dashboard? Read more about how Mayor Walsh and his team are using real-time data visualization to help manage the city, from constituent service and 911 data to social media sentiment. 

How can you reimagine Boston’s public spaces? Enter the Public Space Invitational, and attend a q&a Tuesday night at 6pm at District Hall with our office of New Urban Mechanics.

How can you reimagine Boston’s public spaces? Enter the Public Space Invitational, and attend a q&a Tuesday night at 6pm at District Hall with our office of New Urban Mechanics.