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School Secrets: 5 things to know about Boston College

Posted by Alex Pearlman  February 9, 2012 05:56 PM

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boston college ariel view.jpgBy Melissa Werthmann

Founded by the Jesuits in 1864 to serve the South End’s working class, Boston College moved to its Chestnut Hill campus in the early 1900s and became a university in the 1920s. So maybe their school’s name isn’t so accurate anymore, but BC students don’t seem to mind; they’re too busy crawling through secret tunnels.

“I have had friends that claim they found doors,” to underground crawl spaces connecting the campus’s oldest buildings, said sophomore biology major Jeff Savarino. “We found blueprints that have doors that look like they belong to tunnels.”

Although Savarino has yet to crawl through the mysterious tunnels, he (and the rest of the Eagles) have found plenty of other awesome things to do at BC.

Lions and tigers and eagles, oh my! The Powers Atrium in BC’s Fulton Hall isn’t your average atrium: It has a Wizard of Oz theme. “[The atrium] was renovated not too long ago, and the architects wanted to incorporate a cool theme into it,” said Savarino. And so, the benches are engraved with the Latin equivalent of, “Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore,” while the lights are shaped like the Tin Man’s hat.

“It’s kind of weird,” said sophomore nursing major Grace Collins. “I think you just have to come in and see it to believe it.”

The Eagles like to get down and dirty. Right before finals, BC observes their spring semester tradition of Mudstock: Students build a mud pit in the parking lot and have an all-day volleyball tournament, culminating with an outdoor concert near the senior housing complex known as the Mods. Savarino, who worked as an EMT on medical standby for both events last year, said everyone always has a good time -- but getting a spot on one of the volleyball teams can be pretty competitive, said sophomore marketing major Kasey Jong.

boston college football.jpgBC went to the Super Bowl. Or at least, some of its alumni did: Six players who played in this year’s Super Bowl used to walk the halls of Boston College, and New York Giants head coach Tom Coughlin used to be BC’s head coach. “You wouldn’t think that BC would be the most-represented college in the Super Bowl,” said senior communications major Dave Grotz, but he added that football is “probably the best part about BC.”

“There’s a definitely a lot of BC pride about people that have gone to the NFL and done well,” said Jong.

Want a prime Boston Marathon-watching spot? Head to BC. BC is located right after “Heartbreak Hill,” a make-or-break stretch of the Boston Marathon, so their campus is said to be one of the best places to watch. “From experience here as a student and as a runner, it’s absolutely amazing running through BC,” said Grotz, who ran the marathon his sophomore year.

And as most Boston students will agree, Marathon Monday is one of the best days to be a student in the city. “Everyone just gets hammered on Monday and goes out and supports the runners,” said Jong -- although that tradition is pretty much the same no matter where you go to school.

BC is a powerhouse of incredible architecture. The third floor of Gasson Hall, which opened in 1913, has a spiral staircase that leads up to a gorgeous bell tower. Word on the street is that any student found up there will be “punished accordingly,” said Savarino (which most students believe means expulsion), but that hasn’t stopped some Eagles from making the trek.

“I’ve had friends do a lot of weird stuff up there,” said Grotz.

Bapst Library isn’t too shabby either; in fact, it was named one of the most beautiful college libraries in the world. “It’s just what you would imagine a Hogwarts library to look like,” said Collins.

“Basically if you drop a pen or are really loud, everyone will look at you and glare at you,” she said, “so Bapst is the place to go if you want to get some serious studying done.”

BC students, what's your favorite thing about your school?

Interested in more 'School Secrets'? Find out what's weird and wacky about life at Northeastern and BU, and check back for fun facts about the rest of Boston's institutions of higher education.

Photos by Burns Library, Boston College (top) and TheDailySportsHerald (bottom) (Flickr)

About Melissa -- I'm a journalism student at Northeastern University, originally from New Jersey. I love hiking, kayaking, and cereal, and I am a vegetarian. I'm afraid of nothing, except butterflies. I love Disney movies, and I hope to one day meet Betty White.

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