Boston University

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Boston University is a non-sectarian private university located in Boston, Massachusetts. It was founded as a Methodist seminary in Vermont in 1839, then transferred to Concord, New Hampshire in 1847, to Brookline, Massachusetts in 1867, and finally moved to its present campus along the Charles River in Boston in 1949. Originally the "Newbury Biblical Institute," it changed its name to "Methodist General Biblical Institute of Concord," "Brookline School of Theology," "Boston Theological Seminary" and "Boston School of Theology" before adopting the name "Boston University." [1] It should not be confused with Boston College, an entirely separate university in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts.

With over 3,000 faculty and nearly 30,000 students, BU is the fourth largest private university in the nation and the city's second largest employer. The school offers associate, bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees. The university operates on two urban campuses, the main campus on the Charles River in Boston's Back Bay, and the Boston Medical Center in Boston's South End neighborhood.


Colleges and schools at Boston University include:

  • College of Fine Arts (CFA)
  • College Arts and Sciences (CAS)
    • Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GRS)
  • College of Communication (COM)
  • College of Engineering (ENG)
  • College of General Studies (CGS)
  • Sargent College of Health and Rehabilitation (SAR)
  • School of Education (SED)
  • Division of Extended Education
  • School of Hospitality Administration (SHA)
  • School of Law (LAW)
  • School of Management (SMG)
    • Graduate School of Management (GSM)
  • Metropolitan College (MET)
  • School of Social Work (SSW)
  • School of Theology (STH)
  • University Professors Program (UNI)
  • School of Medicine (MED)
  • Goldman School of Dental Medicine (SDM)
  • School of Public Health (SPH)

The University offers a large number of degree programs for associate's, bachelor's, master's, and doctorate degrees. There are also numerous opportunities for students to travel and study abroad, with internships overseas and in Los Angeles and Washington, D.C.. As of 2005 it has a 15-1 student-teacher ratio despite its large size.

Academic standards

In order to remain in good academic standing with the university, students must maintain a cumulative 2.0 GPA or above. Any student falling below this GPA will remain on academic probation until the GPA is raised to a high enough level.

In order to participate in the dual-degree program (Boston University Collaborative Degree Program - BUCOP), students must maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher in both degrees, with a minimum of 144 credits and a minimum of 36 courses completed. In order to graduate on time, most students use Advanced Placement credits and summer programs to complete their two degrees.

Campus and facilities

File:Bu beach.jpg
The "BU Beach", located behind Marsh Plaza and the College of Arts and Sciences building, is a popular place for students to gather during warm weather. It gets its name from the wave-like sounds produced by cars passing on nearby Storrow Drive.

The university's main Charles River Campus follows Commonwealth Avenue and the Green Line, beginning near Kenmore Square and continuing for over a mile and a half to its end near the border of Boston's Allston neighborhood. The Boston University Bridge over the Charles River into Cambridge represents the dividing line between East Campus, where most schools and classroom buildings are concentrated, and West Campus, home to several athletic facilities and playing fields, the large West Campus dorm, and the new John Hancock Student Village complex.

Student housing

Boston University's housing system is the nation's 10th largest among four year colleges. BU was originally a commuter school, but the university now guarantees the option of on-campus housing for four years for all undergraduate students. This is a challenge considering the size of BU's undergraduate population and its urban setting. Housing is determined by a random lottery within classes (i.e. seniors receive priority). Currently, 76% of the undergraduate population lives on campus. However, Boston University requires that all students living on campus be enrolled in a year-long meal plan, which, combined with housing costs, can often be very expensive. Some students prefer to move off-campus because it can often be much cheaper than university housing.

There are two types of student housing; the first type is the large dormitory. BU's first large dormitory was a former hotel. The Myles Standish Hotel in Kenmore Square was built in 1925 and was purchased by BU in 1949. While it was a hotel Myles Standish hosted guest such as Babe Ruth, who favored Suite 818 when he was in town to play the Red Sox. In the 1950s Boston University Alumnus Martin Luther King, Jr. was among the residents. Today Myles Standish Hall and the attached Myles Annex (a separate building purchased for housing in 1980) together house over 900 students. Another large dormitory, Shelton Hall on Bay State Road was once the Sheraton Hotel. Playwright Eugene O'Neill passed away in his suite on the 4th floor of Shelton Hall. Ironically, today the 4th floor is home to a specialty housing area called the Writer's Corridor. The biggest dormitories, commonly housing underclassmen, are the large Warren Towers, which is considered East Campus, and Claflin, Rich, and Sleeper Halls, which comprise West Campus. Warren Towers and West Campus each house around 1,800 undergraduate students. Warren Towers is a large three-towered building on Commonwealth Avenue across from the large College of Arts and Sciences, and directly neighbors the College of Communications. Students living on the east side of the eastern tower (A Tower) can see and hear historic Fenway Park during baseball season. West Campus complex is located on the far west end of campus, near Nickerson Field, the Fitness and Recreation Center, and Agganis Arena. Its three separate dormitories are named after the three original founders of the University.

The smaller dormitory and apartment style housing are mainly located in two parts of campus: Bay State Road or the South Campus residential area in Brookline. Some of these buildings are well-restored row houses that originate from the middle of the 19th-century.

Boston University also provides specialty housing and floors to students who have particular interests. The German, Russian, and Spanish Houses, for example, house students who either speak fluently or study the house's language, and often it is the primary one spoken inside the residence. The Common Ground House, also on Bay State Road, is a house for those wanting to live in an emphatically multi-background setting. The Core Curriculum House is open to those undergraduate students enrolled in the College of Arts and Sciences Core Curriculum. There are also specialty floors in large dormitories, such as vegan floors, English and English education floors, same-sex floors, etc.

Because of the uneven female-to-male ratio, most floors in campus residences are either half-male and half-female or all-female. There are very few, if any, all-male floors.

All large dormitories have 24/7 security and require all students to swipe and show their school identification before entering. Bay State Road brownstones do not have such security and require students to have keys to the front door instead. Every dormitory has a resident advisor. RAs on call regularly patrol the hallways.

Guest and visitor policies

Boston University is more restrictive in its guest policies than other institutions in the surrounding Massachusetts Bay area. Visitors not enrolled at the university must have visitor passes requested at least one day ahead of time. Overnight visitors may not be of the opposite sex, unless they are immediate family members. Visitors of the opposite sex, however, may be "co-hosted," or placed in the care of another resident of the same dorm, for the duration of their stay.

Guests from within the university itself must scan their student IDs ("swipe in") before 8:00 PM if they wish to spend the entire night. Guests who swipe in after 8:00 PM must leave their IDs at the security desk and must be out by 1:00 AM on weekdays and 2:30 AM on weekends. They may be granted "study extensions" that must be submitted before 12:00 AM and push the exit time to 7:30 AM instead. The student government has been trying to change the guest policy to allow all BU students to visit any other BU student at any time.

The penalties for violating these policies carry severe consequences from letters of warning to loss of visitor and guest privileges to expulsion from the housing system.

John Hancock Student Village

The Student Village is a large new residential and recreational complex covering 10 acres between Buick Street and Nickerson Field, ground formerly occupied by a National Guard Armory, which had been used by the University as a storage facility prior to its demolition and the start of construction. The Student Village was designed with the intention of fostering community and bridging the divide between East and West campuses.

The dormitory of apartment suites at 10 Buick Street (often abbreviated to "StuV" by students or simply "The Village") opened to juniors and seniors in the fall of 2000. In 2002, John Hancock Insurance announced its sponsorship of the multi-million dollar project. The Agganis Arena, named after Harry Agganis, which can house up to 7,200 spectators, opened to concerts and hockey games in January 2005. In March of 2005, the final major element of the Student Village complex, the Fitness and Recreation (FitRec) Center, was opened, drawing large crowds from the student body. The center incorporates 6 racquetball courts, two pools, a jogging track and a rock climbing wall, among other sports-related arenas.

Other facilities

The Mugar Memorial Library is the home of the Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center, where documents belonging to thousands of eminent figures in literature, journalism, diplomacy, the arts, and other fields are housed. Among them are Isaac Asimov's personal papers from 1965 onward, and documents from distinguished alum Martin Luther King Jr.

Student Activities


Main article: Boston University athletics

Boston University's Terriers compete in basketball, cross country, golf, ice hockey, rowing, soccer, swimming, tennis, track, and wrestling, while the Lady Terriers compete in basketball, cross country, field hockey, golf, ice hockey, lacrosse, rowing, soccer, swimming, tennis, and track. Boston University athletics teams compete in the America East, Hockey East, and Colonial Athletic Association conferences, and their mascot is Rhett the Boston Terrier. Boston University recently constructed the new Agganis Arena, which opened on January 3, 2005 with a men's hockey game between the Terriers and the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers. Boston University has won 26 Beanpot titles, one fewer than the rest of the Beanpot teams (Boston College, Harvard University, and Northeastern University) combined.

Club Sports

Boston University students also compete in athletics at the club level. There are a total of twenty seven club sports recognized by the university. Some of the club sport teams include: Baseball; Men's Lacrosse; Boston University Snowboard Team; Ultimate Frisbee; Kung Fu; Fencing; Boston University Rugby Football Club; and Women's Rugby.

Student Publications

There are several student publications on campus, including the Daily Free Press, an independant student run newspaper.

Perhaps the most controversial student publication is the fully student run pornography magazine, Boink. It claims to feature actual BU students posing nude, as well as articles discussing sexuality written by BU students. The school does not support or endorse the magazine. It is available at Newbury Comics, among other sources. It was developed after Harvard students began publishing the H-bomb, their own pornography magazine.

Community Service Center

One notable office on campus is the Boston University Community Service Center (CSC). The CSC is a non-profit organization which offers 12 different volunteer opportunities for students in different issues that affect the Boston community and the world as a whole. Some of the general issues the service of CSC volunteers address include: hunger, children, disabilities, and education. Of the 12 programs 10 of them are continual commitments throughout the school year and they are as follows with a brief discription.

  • Afterschool, volunteers tutor elementary school students and participate in recreational activities and arts and crafts.
  • Children's Theater, volunteers write and perform a play for elementary aged students at a local school.
  • Joining Hands, volunteers work with various agencies that serve the disabled in Boston.
  • Making Music, volunteers offer their talents to instruct children in instrument or vocal lessons.
  • Multicultural Advancement Partnership Program (MAPP), volunteers work with people of limited English fluency helping them adjust to life in the United States.
  • Project Hope, several groups of volunteers work at sites throughout Boston that serve the population who have HIV/AIDS.
  • Siblings, volunteers are one-on-one mentors and share cultural, recreational, and educational experiences with their "sibling".
  • Student Food Rescue, this program works to fight hunger in Boston and runs the largest college run food salvage program in the nation.
  • Voices from the Middle, volunteers help 8th graders write and perform their own play based on a social justice issue.
  • Wizards, volunteers introduce the wonders of sciences to elementary-school children with a different hands-on experiment each week.

In addition to these 10 continuing programs there are two annual programs offered to volunteers in the Boston University community. These are the First Year Student Outreach Project (FYSOP) and the Alternative Spring Breaks (ASB) program. These programs are generally popular with the student body attracting about 700 volunteers between the two programs. The FYSOP and ASB programs occur at only one time during the year, but there are students who work to plan the events year-round.

  • Alternative Spring Breaks (ASB), is a popular program that involves student volunteers travelling to sites throughout the country at which to volunteer. The service done on an ASB trips addresses the concerns of many of the other CSC programs: environment, affordable housing, and children. The students travel to their service site by car, using a large van to transport 13 students, a faculty chaperone, and minimal baggage. The sites for the ASB program are typically in the US south and midwest. For example, the program for 2006 includes 20 trips to places like Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Kentucky, Nebraska, and South Dakota. The ASB program is run by two Program Managers (PMs) and each trip is coordinated by two students who apply for the jobs in early Fall.
  • First Year Student Outreach Project (FYSOP), is a program that is entering its 17th year. FYSOP typically involves about 400 incoming Freshman and transfer students, the "First Years", who volunteer at sites throughout Massachusetts. FYSOP takes place in the week prior to the start of classes and consists of an opening day, an education day, and three days of on site service. The First Years are split into small groups lead by FYSOP staff members, of which there are normally about 125. Several of these small groups make up each of the eight service issue areas. The eight issue areas are: Children, Disabilities, HIV/AIDS Awareness, Elders, Gender Focus, Environment, Homelessness and Housing (H&H), and Hunger.
    • Every participant of the program is a volunteer except the one program manager and the 16 coordinators (two per issue area), who are all paid for dedicating their summer to planning FYSOP and their issue area's itinerary. FYSOP staff spend a training week in preparation for the arrival of the First Year students.

Boston University people

External links

Further reading

Salzman, Nancy Lurie. Buildings and builders : an history of Boston University. Boston : Boston University Press, 1985.

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de:Boston University fr:Université de Boston ja:ボストン大学 sv:Boston University zh:波士頓大學