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Campus Life + Sports

Patriots Playoff Hits Campus

BU’s dorms open doors for Sunday’s game

Students filled the stands in Agganis Arena to cheer on the Patriots in 2005. Dean of Students Kenneth Elmore hopes they’ll choose to stay on campus again for this year’s playoff run. Photo by Kalman Zabarsky

On Sunday, the New England Patriots will meet archrivals the Indianapolis Colts on enemy territory. Boston University students, however, will retain the home-field advantage.

While this year’s AFC Championship game is being played at the RCA Dome in Indianapolis, BU will show the battle — and offer free food — at nine locations across campus: the dorms at 1019 Commonwealth Ave., 10 Buick St., 575 Commonwealth Ave., Danielsen Hall, Shelton Hall, Towers, Warren Towers, and West Campus, as well as  the food court at the George Sherman Union. The idea, says John Battaglino, executive director of the Student Activities Office, is to provide an opportunity for students to watch the game in a casual, fun environment in their own neighborhood.

“On Sundays, people are sleeping in, working on homework,” says Mark DiCristofaro (COM’08, CGS’06), vice president of the Student Union. “They want to see the game, but they don’t want to trek down to East Campus if they’re on West Campus. So we’re fostering these common threads, offering comfortable, warm locations with free food. BU students become Patriots fans, and this entertains them in a good, healthy spirit.”

The on-campus viewings are also part of a greater citywide effort to make sure students stay safe when the city is gripped by playoff fever. “Our message is, ‘Take care of yourself and keep an eye out for other members of your community,’” says Dean of Students Kenneth Elmore. “I want to make sure students remember to think about the choices they make.”

Elmore advises students to take precautions if they leave campus to watch Sunday’s game, such as making sure they have enough money for transportation and traveling with a group when possible. He also notes that students consuming alcohol should do so “legally and responsibly,” and he reminds students hosting parties to be “respectful of neighbors who may not be enthusiastic about their social outlets.”

The University has a history of pulling out all the stops for playoff celebrations — in 2004 more than 1,500 students watched the Red Sox triumph in game four of the World Series on a giant screen at Nickerson Field, and in 2005 Agganis Arena was home to a super-sized Super Bowl party that saw nearly 3,000 fans cheer the Patriots to their third Super Bowl win. Previous celebrations have been marred, however, by citywide violence and vandalism, leading to discussions with the Boston Police Department and Mayor Thomas Menino (Hon.’01) about keeping students off the streets after major sports wins.

To that end, Elmore has invited all students, including those who live off-campus, to join the BU community for Sunday’s game. Students will be able to swipe into dormitories using their ID cards, or they can watch in the GSU.

If the Patriots win Sunday’s game, it will mean their fourth AFC championship — and fourth Super Bowl appearance — in six years. Whether such a feat is cause for a repeat of 2005’s festivities at Agganis Arena remains to be seen.

“I don’t want to jinx the Patriots,” says Elmore.
Jessica Ullian can be reached at jullian@bu.edu.