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Campus Life

A Day at the (BU) Beach

No sand, but still a popular destination

Newcomers to BU can be forgiven for being confused when they first hear about the BU Beach. Yes, it’s a real place, and no, you won’t find a sandy expanse in the middle of campus.

We’re referring to the grassy knoll (known formally as the Warren Alpert Mall) directly behind Marsh Chapel. It’s the closest thing to a quad at BU, and it draws dog walkers, Frisbee players, sunbathers, and anyone seeking a respite from the hustle and bustle of Comm Ave.

There are at least three theories about how the area came to be known as the BU Beach. One suggests that before Storrow Drive was built in 1951, swimmers would often gather on the banks of the Charles River to take a plunge. Another possibility is that it was named after the installation of the sculpture Counterpoint, by Russell Jacques (CFA’66), in 1992. From one angle, the piece resembles a whale (it’s commonly referred to as “the whale sculpture”). A third theory: if you sit on the lawn and close your eyes, the traffic on Storrow Drive sounds like waves crashing on a beach.

In any case, the BU Beach is arguably the most popular spot on campus, especially during warm weather months.

Bill Politis can be reached at bpolitis@bu.edu.

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