Community, Features

Campus traditions to partake in

In the last few months, students and colleges have undergone extreme change in response to the pandemic and social activism worldwide. But with the promise of on-campus courses this Fall, there are some practices that will persist through time.

Chefs serve lobster to a line of students at the Warren Towers Dining Hall in 2019. Lobster Night at Boston University is an annual tradition. ALI AUDET/ DFP FILE

Boston University was founded in 1839, and in nearly 200 years, campus traditions have shaped the culture and community of the university. Despite the changes, this Fall will begin to illuminate campus life for freshmen through these established activities and events.


Part of BU’s Weeks of Welcome at the beginning of every semester, SPLASH is a student club exposition where hundreds of organizations congregate on Nickerson Field to recruit new members and advertise their missions.

Currently, there are more than 450 on-campus groups to become a part of, ranging from academic societies to community service projects to performance troupes, and many of these clubs have a long-standing history with the University.

Its first student publication, The Beacon, was established in 1876. Meanwhile, BUTV10’s “Bay State” is the longest-running college soap opera in the country and Inner Strength Gospel Choir has performed concerts in Marsh Chapel since 1973.

Lobster Night

The city of Boston is known for its seafood cuisine, which, for most students, is usually too expensive for comfort. But since 1985, BU has served thousands of cooked lobsters in its dining halls on one night every Fall. Students line up to receive their Maine crustacean, corn-on-the-cob and bib, a tradition that has become tied to freshmen induction and BU bucket lists.

BU Greek Rock

With over 1,000 layers of paint from a variety of campus organizations, the rock was moved from Commonwealth Avenue to its present location on the BU Beach in 2006. Not only is it a unique way to promote your organization, but the tradition is decades old, originating with early sorority and fraternity life and continuing to symbolize Greek organizations and competitiveness on campus.

BU Physics Pumpkin Drop

A relatively new campus custom, the Pumpkin Drop, hosted by the physics department, takes place on a Friday around Halloween. The 16th annual drop will be held this October off the roof of the Metcalf Science Center, where students gather on the plaza to watch the odd spectacle. Before the 70-foot drop, students can guess the weight of the largest pumpkin and enter a costume contest.


The march to Agganis Arena for a hockey game is a common ritual for many BU students, but the competitive nature of the sport is amplified every winter in the annual Beanpot Tournament. Each year, BU Terriers challenge Northeastern University, Boston College and Harvard University, the prize being bragging rights that carry over until the next Beanpot.

The competition is also famously publicized — game coverage is published in The Boston Globe and The New York Times each year. The tradition began in December of 1952, meaning this coming Beanpot will be the 69th annual tournament.

BU Dog Pound

The Dog Pound’s enthusiasm for hockey will be unmatched at any regular season game held at Agganis Arena. The Pound is a group of students and alumni, as well as the Pep Band, who begin chants and display posters in the student section.

The group also produces a paper flyer each game, complete with player stats and jokes mocking the opposing team. For those who aren’t hockey fans yet still enjoy free things, attending six men’s hockey games in a single season will get you a free BU hockey jersey.

Marathon Monday

For the first time in its 124 years, the Boston Marathon, a beloved city-wide tradition, was canceled altogether. Typically, students would have that Monday in April — Patriots’ Day — off of school to celebrate the race and revel in campus festivities.

Students can watch as runners pass through Kenmore Square and finish the 26.2-mile race on Boylston Street. Its initial postponement until Fall and eventual cancellation came as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, but Bostonians can look forward to April 19, 2021, when the next Marathon can kick off.

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