Keep Allston Decent

Before I came to Japan, I lived in Boston, Massachusetts for a couple of years. My apartment was in a neighborhood called Allston, which had a reputation as a party area because many students from nearby Boston University (BU) lived there. House parties were common on the weekends, so by the time Monday came around, the ground was often littered with garbage and broken bottles. It was a pretty dirty neighborhood.

Most people didn’t care about this problem, but a student named Charlie Rockwell decided to do something about it. He formed a neighborhood group with some other BU students with the purpose of picking up trash and keeping the streets clean. They called themselves Keep Allston Decent.

 

They didn’t stop at just picking up trash. They fixed broken fences and guard rails, planted flowers around town, and maintained a community message board. They also made “Keep Allston Decent” T-shirts and sweatshirts to support their cause.

 

 

 

Most notably, they decorated and maintained several public trash cans around the neighborhood. That’s Charlie in the back, wearing the white sweatshirt.

 

“Decent” means “ok” or “good enough.” Keep Allston Decent may sound like a strange name, but Charlie explained it to me: There are a lot of signs in public areas that say “Keep Massachusetts Clean” or “Keep Boston Beautiful.” Well, Allston may never be beautiful or clean, but the people who live there can at least keep it decent!

Charlie and his friends have long since graduated and moved on, and Keep Allston Decent no longer exists. Many years have passed, but I hope the students who live there now still take pride in where they live. 

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