BU Today

Campus Life

Bubbly Beyond Champagne

A senior finds her class Friday evening, on BU Beach

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For one more look at the 2009 champagne reception, see Caroline Bridges’ slideshow above.

After seven days of barbecues, beaches, boats, ballparks, and a fair amount of booze, Senior Week for the Class of 2009 concluded on the Warren Alpert Mall with the annual champagne reception on Friday evening.

As students and their families converged under sunny skies on BU Beach, the conversations had a common refrain: “I don’t recognize anybody here!” But after working through dozens of cases of sparkling wine, that mattered less and less. We were all celebrating the same thing: our graduation.

Events of this past week aside, I can think of very few times over the past four years when a large percentage of my class came together. We began our BU lives with Matriculation back in September 2005 — possibly the only time some of my classmates stepped foot inside the Track and Tennis Center. I remember someone saying that Matriculation and Commencement would be the only two times we’d convene as a class. Sure enough, we fanned out from there, to our schools and departments, pooling with people who shared our interests. And now we’re gravitating back together again for one more moment.

When we were freshmen, we reached out to anybody who would hang with us. We were all afraid we wouldn’t make friends, wouldn’t be considered cool or mature by the other kids who seemed so cool and mature (or maybe that was just me). As we became more comfortable, we found our place in a school where, according to the BU Admissions Web site, there are 18,534 undergrads; that’s an average of 4,635.75 students in each class. We focused on friendships, not the whole class, on who we saw in class or in the dorm, who was catching the Frisbee on BU Beach.

So the champagne reception became more than a chance to enjoy BU’s free food and drink. It became an opportunity to see people I hadn’t seen since freshman year, people I may have gone to a party with four years ago but haven’t spoken to since. I drifted among the groups, shaking hands, laughing, exchanging pleasantries, like, “Yeah, I think I’ve met you before, once or twice, a few years ago, perhaps?” It was a great conclusion to a crazy four years, with toasts all around, the gist of them being, “We’re actually graduating!”

As the sun passed behind the LAW building and the caterers packed up a few remaining bottles of bubbly, people slowly dispersed. I tried not to get teary-eyed when I said a final goodbye to someone I had worked with since freshman year. Families went to dinner; friends went to other friends’ apartments to continue the party. I headed to South Campus with some people to split a buffalo chicken calzone. By then, what mattered were the faces we knew, the people we would be graduating with in less than 38 hours. As Senior Week ended and Commencement weekend began, I tried not to think about leaving this school and my friends, beginning my life as an “adult,” and instead focused on the feeling of happy in my stomach — not entirely the result of champagne.

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