Somehow, MarMon has passed, finals season is almost upon us, girls in heels and robes are taking pictures on the Marsh Plaza Seal and we’ve experienced a whopping two days above 60 degrees. The end of the 2022-2023 school year is practically here!
It’s nearly impossible to succinctly or clearly describe the Boston University 22-23 school year — but we’ll give it a try anyway.
At first glance, “normal” might be an accurate descriptor.
For the first time since COVID-19 ravaged the world two years ago, the on-campus mask and vaccine requirements have been lifted. It’s now difficult to even picture the lines for COVID-19 testing or the crowded Zoom calls that characterized the past two school years, or to remember a world without wall-to-wall GSU crowds and uproarious Beanpots.
The famed Sunset Cantina reopened its doors, and the birth control vending machine is now back to preventing frat house (or Tavern In The Square) babies!
And yet, the word “normal” still doesn’t suffice, as many aspects of BU are now completely transformed from previous years.
A non-exhaustive list of new BU developments during the ‘22-’23 year includes the Jenga Building (or the Center for Computing and Data Science), the LGBTQIA+ Student Resource Center, a still interim Dean of Students, a grilled cheese cafe, a retiring President Brown, sustainable packaging initiatives in the GSU and united workers of the world (better known as two new unions).
So maybe we could describe this past year as “innovative.” Or even “progressive.”
And truly, no matter how students (us included) might snark, it is certainly a net positive that BU administration is prioritizing the environment, equality and inclusion. However the University is still not the leftist bastion they might consider themselves, as the Residence Life and Grad Workers unions both had to fight an uphill battle against administration in order to organize.
The ‘22-’23 school year was no stranger to tragedy.
An unnamed man died by suicide in February, jumping from the 26th floor of 33 Harry Agganis Way. He was 33 years old from Cambridge — and that is just about all we know of him.
Many are left to wonder if the University’s reticence since the incident is because an adult man, unaffiliated with BU, seemingly bypassed the StuVi security guard.
This event should not only bring about a public safety reckoning, but a mental health one too.
BU has a lot of work to do in order to streamline and publicize our mental health resources — someone already struggling with depression or PTSD should not have to navigate through a winding, Kafkaesque labyrinth of consultations, appointments, co-pays, deductibles and referrals.
We were also victim to a shooting hoax in April, with an anonymous person frantically calling the BUPD and reporting that there was an active shooter at the “University of Boston.”
Even though that misnomer was clearly suspicious, it led to a very real reaction on behalf of the BUPD and the BU community at large. Students hunkered down at events in the GSU, locked themselves in Mugar study rooms and ran desperately across streets to gain shelter — only to eventually be told that there was no shooter at all.
In both of these cases, BU students were forced to rely more on each other than the administration, which of course led to rampant misinformation, confusion and fear.
BU should — and must — improve their communication methods and tactics when horrific events are unfolding. Students deserve to feel safe and protected while they are in the care of the University, especially in light of the unrelenting and devastating second-hand trauma we experience from living in the gun massacre capital of the world.
So we’re back to our original conclusion — it’s impossible to totally and accurately characterize this past year here on Comm. Ave.
It was a year of settling in, relearning normalcy, changing — or trying to change — the world, shaking things up, pushing back, expecting more, expecting better. It was as chaotic, oxymoronic and exciting as one might expect the home of 36,729 people from all across the world to be.
For all of its flaws, it’s still a school where one might catch Adam Sandler casually on tour in the student union, walk by the Starbucks strikers deemed an honorable mention for “Bostonian of the Year” by the Boston Globe on the way to class and study in a brand new, 19-story, carbon-neutral building heated and cooled by geothermal wells extended 1,500 feet underground — a minute fraction of what occurred during the ‘22-’23 academic year.
We’ll take it.
This editorial was written by Opinion Editor Caroline McCord.