For many, 2016 was the worst year ever. At Boston College, it couldn’t have been more exciting. In one short year, BC weathered the impact of one of the most influential presidential elections in our nation’s history, while enduring a wacky election of its own. BC climbed the national rankings while its students rose together in solidarity with members of the AHANA and LGBTQ+ communities. It honored legends on the athletic fields and captured our attention with stunning on-stage performances. And through it all, we were there. As we finally leave 2016 behind, take a look back at what we saw at BC. And we’ll see you soon enough in 2017.
[aesop_chapter title=”I. News” bgtype=”img” full=”on” img=”http://bcheights.com/longform/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/JULIA2Y3Q6729online-3.jpg” bgcolor=”#888888″ revealfx=”off”]
Laverne Cox — Orange is the New Black star and LGBTQ+ advocate Laverne Cox was scheduled to speak at BC in February, but she canceled due to a scheduling conflict. This event also highlighted GLC’s efforts to add a section on gender identity to BC’s Notice of Non-Discrimination.
Light the World Comes to a Close — The eight-year Light the World campaign came to a close this year, raising $1.605 billion and surpassing its goal of $1.5 billion. The campaign was the largest capital campaign among Catholic universities this decade. Following the close of Light the World, BC created the University Strategic Planning Initiative, a strategic-planning committee that will identify the University’s spending priorities over the next 10 years.
Eradicate Protests, Disciplinary Action — In January, five members of Eradicate BC Racism received disciplinary action after an unregistered protest last December, which was deemed disruptive by the University. This December, Eradicate BC Racism members are facing administrative backlash once again, this time for two unregistered demonstrations following the election of Donald J. Trump as president of the United States.
The Perils of Housing — Students have faced housing challenges in 2016, both on and off campus. Early in the year, Walsh residents found a couple of uninvited guests: mice. Students living off campus have also had their fair share of unwelcome intruders of the less furry variety. From December 2015 to March 2016, over 27 off-campus residences were broken into. Students have been robbed at gunpoint and valuables have been taken.
UGBC Election Saga — It was certainly an unusual year when it came to the elections for UGBC’s top two positions. The race began in January with three teams. Due to personal matters, however, two teams had to drop out from the race, leaving only one: the duo from The New England Classic. The Elections Committee extended the nomination deadline, and a total of six teams ran for the spots. After multiple rounds of voting, Russell Simons and Meredith McCaffrey came out victorious. They were even backed by our endorsement.
The Political Climate is Clear — Prior to the presidential election this November, Federal Elections Commission data showed that BC faculty donated exclusively to democratic campaigns in 2014-15. In a survey conducted by The Heights, a majority of BC students also supported the Democratic nominee. When the election did not pan out as most students would had hoped, groups across campus established safe spaces, faculty opened their doors for support, and demonstrations were held to protest Trump’s victory.
Let’s Talk About Sex, Maybe — We took a look at the history of Students for Sexual Health, its “condomonium” controversy in 2013, and the backlash that the group received from the administration and the Catholic press. UGBC had a similar goal in mind: increasing conversation on sexual health. The group passed a motion calling on the administration to open up dialogue about what is considered a “taboo topic.”
Rise to #22 — In 2016, BC made its way up Forbes’ rankings, rising to the 22nd spot on the annual list. In 2015, BC was ranked 37, a 15-spot jump in the span of a year. BC surpassed universities including Duke, Cornell, and Virginia. The rise could in part be attributed to the Carroll School of Management’s ranking as the third-best undergraduate business school by Bloomberg BusinessWeek or USA Today’s ranking BC as the fifth-best school to study history.
Minaldy Fights for Aid — Minaldy Cadet, MCAS ’20, who moved to the United States from Haiti as a child, has suffered a long and convoluted process on the way to citizenship. Just before the start of the fall semester, Cadet was denied his green card, which was needed to receive his financial aid package at BC. In November, however, the Appeals Committee offered Cadet a special appeal grant, which will cover his spring semester tuition.
LGBTQ+ Action on Campus — This September, letters on a sign in the Mod Lot were rearranged to say a phrase containing a homophobic, derogatory slur, sparking conversation concerning the inclusiveness of the LGBTQ+ community on campus. UGBC passed a resolution calling on the University to create an LGBTQ+ resource center, mand presented this proposal to the Board of Trustees in September. Led by several influential campus groups, students held a march through campus, chanted “silence is violence,” and called on administrators to respond to the defaced sign and instances of bias against marginalized student groups on campus. The incident inspired us to take a comprehensive look at the history of the LGBTQ+ community at BC.
A Look at Leahy — University President Rev. William P. Leahy, S.J., celebrated 20 years at BC this year, and we looked back on his tenure. This November, Leahy signed two statements supporting DACA, an executive action taken by President Barack Obama that protects undocumented students on university campuses but may be revoked by the next administration.
[aesop_chapter title=”II. Sports” bgtype=”img” full=”on” img=”http://bcheights.com/longform/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Sports-Shot.jpg” bgcolor=”#888888″ revealfx=”off”]
#JY1K — Jerry York took home his 1,000th career win, 8-0 over the University of Massachusetts at the Mullins Center. The victory extended the NCAA record he set back in 2012. Former players and friends from across the college hockey world celebrated the BC legend.
Practicing Indoors — BC Athletics announced plans for an indoor practice facility to go along with the Brighton Athletics Fields and the replacement for the Flynn Recreation Complex. Not everyone was happy, though. Swim and Dive head coach Tom Groden noted the Plex’s replacement was lacking space for a 3-meter diving board, and questioned if his program would survive because of it. Groden ultimately resigned at the end of the calendar year.
O-For-The-ACC — With a loss in the ACC Tournament to Florida State, men’s basketball completed a winless season in-conference. The tumultuous 7-25 season included an embarrassing blowout to Wake Forest on the road, a last-second layup by North Carolina State’s Maverick Rowan, and a scare to national runner-up North Carolina at Conte Forum.
Almost Perfect — Women’s hockey had its best year, running through Hockey East with Beanpot, conference regular-season, and conference tournament titles. Led by a dominant offense and a silencing defense, the Eagles started 40-0 and earned their first berth to a national title game. But they came up just short, falling 3-1 to Minnesota in the final game of the year. Despite that, we honored head coach Katie Crowley with our 2015-16 Person of the Year Award.
25th Time’s the Charm — With a regular-season Hockey East and Beanpot title in tow, York led the Eagles to the Frozen Four for the 25th time, with thrilling wins over Harvard and Minnesota Duluth. That mark set the record for most among college hockey teams, surpassing Michigan. But BC’s hopes for a sixth national title came up short against Quinnipiac in the national semifinal. And after the season, BC received more bad news with the departure of seven underclassmen, highlighted by Mike Richter Award winner Thatcher Demko.
Birdball’s Wild Ride — It wasn’t long ago that baseball was threatened to go on the chopping block because of its lack of success. Led by a battery that was drafted early by MLB teams—one of whom went in the first round to the New York Mets—a masterful season from the Eagles changed that reputation. With a series win over Georgia Tech in the season’s final weekend, BC clinched its first ACC Tournament berth since 2010. Though it lost in the first game, it parlayed that into an NCAA Tournament bid. But the Eagles weren’t done. They roared through the Oxford Regional with wins over Utah and Tulane. Though their season was cut short in a hard-fought, best-of-three series in the Super Regional against Miami, Birdball did enough to earn national praise.
An Up-and-Down Year for Football — Following a winless ACC season in 2015, Steve Addazio had a new quarterback, revamped coaching staff, and bruising defense back for one goal: return to a bowl … or else. It wasn’t pretty. BC rolled through its non-conference schedule, but got its heart ripped out in Dublin by Georgia Tech and was blown out 202-24 by Virginia Tech, Clemson, Louisville, and Florida State. Victories over North Carolina State and Wake Forest on the road lifted the Eagles to a berth in the Quick Lane Bowl. In Detroit, BC won its first bowl game since 2007, 36-30 over Maryland, with a game almost as topsy-turvy as its season.
Athletes of the Year — In our final issue of 2015-16, we held our first Athletes of the Year Awards. The list included a first-year head coach that led her program to its most successful season; a freshman from Greece who changed how women’s basketball plays; a rising ace in baseball’s rotation; a center who fought through countless knee injuries to finish a tumultuous career; and two of the greatest players in women’s hockey—not just at BC, but in the history of the sport. Some of our other favorite athletes to cover included a phenom from Arizona; two centers who have mastered faceoffs and their own bowels; a pair of stud pitchers; a quarterback-turned-wide receiver; and the future hope of men’s basketball.
Jersey Retirements — It was a big year to honor BC legends. Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan and Carolina Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly had their jerseys hung on the walls of Alumni Stadium. Hobey Baker Award winner Mike Mottau joined the annals of Conte Forum’s rafters. But the biggest accolades go to Pete Frates, this year’s winner of the NCAA Inspiration Award. Frates, the inspiration for the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, had his No. 3 retired at Shea Field, only the second Birdballer to receive the honor.
[aesop_chapter title=”III. Arts” bgtype=”img” full=”on” img=”http://bcheights.com/longform/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Arts-Shot.jpg” bgcolor=”#888888″ revealfx=”off”]
Dance the Night Away — Throughout the year, the BC dance community comes together for several displays of dance crews’ uniqueness and talent. In April, the annual Showcase competition finished with a new champion: Boston College Irish Dance. The Week of Dance Showcase this December provided both a fitting conclusion to the week’s celebration and a holistic view of the range of styles and interests BC’s dance teams hold.
Starring On-Stage — For its end-of-the-year show this past spring, the theatre department put on a modern adaptation of Carlo Goldoni’s 18th-century comedy, The Servant of Two Masters, that was sure to awe audiences and have them crying with laughter. In the show, David Makransky, MCAS ’17, gave arguably the most outstanding performance of the year.
Bringing the (T-)Pain — T-Pain and BC’s own Funky Giant graced the stage in the Mod Lot this May for the yearly Modstock concert. Though it began to rain in the middle of the performance, the crowd of students and attendees weathered the elements (and some nasty, wet sand) for the entirety of T-Pain’s show.
Freshly Squeezed — Closing out spring semester’s Arts Fest, Juice took to the O’Neill Plaza stage for a concert celebrating the release of the band’s self-titled album. The band is at the height of popularity among students at BC, and shared the stage with up-and-coming performers and bands from the campus’s music community.
A New Home for McMullen— After over 20 years in Devlin Hall, the McMullen Museum moved its galleries and collections over to its new space on Brighton Campus. Art history professor and McMullen Museum director Nancy Netzer discussed the museum’s shift and the wonderful opportunities that the new location provides both the museum and its attendees.
Joycestick — We took an in-depth look at English professor Joe Nugent’s virtual reality project centered around James Joyce’s Ulysses. Students in Nugent’s Analyzing Joyce have come together to craft and perfect this marvelous exploration of a timeless classic.
[aesop_chapter title=”IV. Metro” bgtype=”img” full=”on” img=”http://bcheights.com/longform/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Metro-Shot.jpg” bgcolor=”#888888″ revealfx=”off”]
Start It Up — Our second annual startup issue continued the tradition of showcasing some of the leaders of the industry that have come out of BC. At Nxtfour, Michael Bryant seeks to revolutionize the college application process by making it more social. For Alexander LoVerde and Jeff Impey, the inspiration for their company Wymsee came from a movie session with friends. James Valladares and Salah Abdo seek to bring a more lighthearted culture to business with their app, Pixie Dust Lab, which allows users to craft more creative apps to meet their desires. As the city continues to evolve, so do its people, making it all the more interesting to see whether it can maintain its allure for entrepreneurs.
Stories From the Marathon — Scores of students run the Boston Marathon for an array of reasons, from a desire to beat personal bests to upholding the memory of a lost one. Chase Ryan and Madison Meehan, both members of the Dana Farber team, raised tens of thousands of dollars for cancer research, all while pushing their bodies to their limit during the 26.2 mile race.
Food Guide 2016 — We ventured again into Boston to craft a full-day’s worth of good eats in the newest edition of the Food Guide. We started with breakfast at Bova’s, where no matter the time you’ll get your heart’s fill, and Greenhills Bakery, where owner Dermot Quinn brings a taste of Ireland to Boston. For lunch, stop by the Paramount which, coupled with dessert from Morano Gelato, sets the tone for the rest of your day. Of course, no culinary experience is complete without dinner, where Boston Burger Co. and Walnut Grille give diners myriad options, no matter their preferences.
The 2016 Election — This year brought one of the most significant elections in recent memory, where differing ideologies and political messages managed to split the nation in ways previously unimaginable, as Donald Trump won the White House. The results sparked a wave of protests in the city, including some organized by students. The response from both sides has been significant— it now remains to be seen whether both can reach across the aisle and work for the benefit of the whole and not just its parts.
Venezuelan Expatriates — In a year where domestic politics dominated the headlines, issues elsewhere, especially in the South American nation of Venezuela, escalated to unforeseen heights. Scores of Venezuelan expatriates gathered to bring the human rights violations taking place in the country to light. In a demonstration in Copley Square in October, the crowd called for a return of constitutional law and for the freeing of political prisoners.
[aesop_chapter title=”V. Features” bgtype=”img” full=”on” img=”http://bcheights.com/longform/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/IMG_0842online-e1479096362818.jpg” bgcolor=”#e6e6e6″ revealfx=”off”]
The Legend of Ranchony — The New England Classic’s Anthony Perasso, LSOE ’17, and Rachel Loos, MCAS ’18—better known as this year’s most outlandish UGBC presidential candidates—sought election on a platform which promised to “Bring Back the Funk.” Though the eccentric duo didn’t emerge victorious, they sure made this year’s election a lot more interesting.
Long Live the Walsh Baby — We interrupted Emily Manning’s nap to get a word with Walsh Hall’s newest infant resident, to learn all about her on-campus residential experience and how it has affected her early upbringing. Come for the story, stay for the adorable baby pictures.
Looking Closely at Connell— The long and illustrious history of the Connell School of Nursing began in 1947 and it has become a pillar at BC. Take an in-depth look at the school—past, present, and future.
Escaping Aleppo — It is often extremely easy to feel disconnected from crises that are geographically distant from us. For the crisis in Syria, BC students need not look any further than our own student body. Layla Aboukhater, MCAS ’18, was displaced from Aleppo, Syria to Chestnut Hill due to escalating violence in the Middle East. She offered her own reflection of her life as a teenager in a war-torn city with an uncertain future.
Becoming One With the Land — Throughout the year, BC took many steps forward in improving its environmental footprint, from notoriously thorough campus beautification efforts, to award-winning dormitories noted for striving for sustainability, and even beehives on academic buildings.
The Faces of BC — This University has countless extraordinary students and groups that make it such a special place. We watched Women’s Club Rugby claw its way into national rankings, listened to a panel of students take the stage to speak from the heart on the issues that matter the most to them, heard an artist find his voice despite his declining sight, and saw that—with a little faith—memory and hope can make a little boy live forever.