Brady G: 22 Opinions from a ‘22 Graduate

22 Opinions from a ‘22 Graduate

I feel old.

I’m graduating in three months, so I’ve been around BU for a long time. This campus has been my neighborhood for four years, and I’ve covered every inch of it. I’m like a Terrier textbook. A BU buff. A Comm. Ave. connoisseur. I know a thing or two because I’ve seen a thing or two.

In my advanced age, my final wish is to share my wisdom so future generations can benefit from it. Upon my graduation, here are my takes on several of the most important debates at BU.

Best Residential Area:

Winner: South Campus

I can’t pretend to know what every building is like, so instead, I’ll evaluate the neighborhoods as a whole, and South Campus is my favorite. It’s a 20-minute walk away from anything, but still feels like it’s outside the “BU Bubble.” Plus, it’s close to three different Green Line branches.

Runner-Up: Bay State Road

On the border of BU, Back Bay, and the Charles River, Bay State Road is like South Campus; always within walking distance, but a quiet alternative to the main stretch of campus.

Honorable Mention: West Campus

West isn’t best, but it cracks the top three thanks to its proximity to the athletic facilities and its “classic campus feel”. If it wasn’t so far away, the Fenway Campus would be here instead.

Best Dining Hall:

Winner: The Fenway Campus

I have to give some love to the Fenway Campus, and the dining hall is its best feature. In my year at the Campus Center and Student Residence, I went to this dining hall so many times and never got tired of it. The food is good, it’s rarely busy, and it’s still very new. It’s worth the walk.

Runner-Up: Warren Towers

I will always have fond memories of the Warren Towers dining hall, where I spent many meals as a freshman. It has a good variety of food and seating, and great views down Comm. Ave.

Honorable Mention: West Campus

Once again, West earns a spot on the podium. It’s a slightly worse replica of its counterpart at Warren, but it’s still better than Marciano Commons. Who wants a dining hall with two floors?

Best Study Spot:

Winner: 100 Bay State Road

After dissing the dining hall downstairs, I’ll make up for it here, because the Yawkey Center for Student Services is a perfect place to study. There are individual rooms for use throughout the upper floors, and they all look out on the Charles River, Kenmore Square, and Fenway Park.

Runner-Up: The StuVi 2 Study Lounge

On the top floor of a high-rise, this might be one of the coolest study spaces across the country. Any seat near a window is valuable real estate — Just don’t let the views of Boston distract you.

Honorable Mention: Top Floor of the Photonics Center

This place is a bit of a hidden gem, so let’s try to keep it that way. That being said, if you can get a seat here, you’ll be treated to a quiet study experience with views that rival those at StuVi 2.


Best Non-Dining Hall BU Restaurant:

Winner: George Sherman Union

It’s an easy decision. Especially after the recent renovation, the GSU is new-and-improved and offers so much variety, whether you want a fresh salad from Greens and Grains, a filling sandwich from the Charles River Bread Company, or whatever you call Panda Express.

Runner-Up: Fuller’s BU Pub

If you’re 21 or older, the BU Pub is a fun place to go that makes you forget you’re on a college campus. I don’t even drink and I like it there, which should tell you everything you need to know.

Honorable Mention: Raising Cane’s

I’ve heard whispers that Cane’s is overrated, and fine, maybe the simple menu can get tiring sometimes. But, when you have a craving for chicken, fries and toast, Cane’s never misses.


Best Non-BU, On-Campus Restaurant:

Winner: T Anthony’s

We’re running out of iconic BU restaurants, with the closing of T’s Pub a couple years ago. Thankfully, T Anthony’s still delivers a classic on-campus experience with good food at any hour of the day (or night). Check out all the photos on their walls while you’re waiting for your order.

Runner-Up: University Grill

Maybe I’m riding the high of finally discovering this place after years of walking past it, but UGrill has impressed me with its efficiency, prices, and quality. It’s a go-to stop for a snack or a meal.

Honorable Mention: Zinneken’s Waffle Truck

In an unprecedented move that is sure to raise eyebrows everywhere, I am including the waffle truck on this list. When the Zinneken’s truck pulls up in front of COM, you absolutely have to go.


Best Place to Watch a Game

Winner: Agganis Arena

I came in with my doubts about Agganis, but after spending a few years around college hockey, I have been converted. Even if it lacks the character of older arenas around the region, you can’t take for granted the amenities, the presentation, and that precious reliable arena Wi-Fi.

Runner-Up: Walter Brown Arena

Even if I’ve grown to prefer the younger hockey venue a block away, Walter Brown Arena is the quintessential college hockey experience, which I love. It’s outdated, it’s cold, and it’s awesome.

Honorable Mention: Fenway Park

Can we claim Fenway Park to be on BU’s campus? I didn’t realize how close Fenway is to BU when I first got here, but as I’ve learned, you can’t beat the ten-minute walk to a Red Sox game.


Best Historical Location:

Winner: Nickerson Field

To a sports nerd like me, there’s something so cool about the Nickerson Field bleachers being a part of Braves Field, built for professional baseball more than a century ago. I’ve spent a lot of time learning about the ballpark, and I love having a piece of baseball history right here at BU.

Runner-Up: “Automobile Row”

Many of the buildings down Commonwealth Avenue, including the College of Communication, were once car dealerships. You would never notice it, and I think that makes it more interesting.

Honorable Mention: Kenmore Square

I’m pushing the boundaries of BU’s campus again, but I think Kenmore Square counts. As a popular spot to photograph, it’s evolved so much over the years, and only continues to grow.


Best School:

Winner: COM

It’s COM, and there’s no competition. You didn’t think I could finish my last COM Ambassador blog without getting a little sentimental, did you? COM is where I found my best friends, learned what I want to do for a career, and made countless incredible memories. From the moment I arrived, I never doubted my choice of school or University, and I think that sums it up best.


Brady: A bittersweet college sports season

As we approach a full year of pandemic life in the United States, I’ve noticed that it feels increasingly strange to look back at pictures and videos from this time in 2020, and just how different everything was. A year into this new reality, the way we live now almost seems more normal than the way we lived then.

As I look back at those memories that now feel so distant, the images of pre-pandemic college sporting events stick out to me in particular. I have pictures overlooking a packed TD Garden at the 2020 Beanpot, just a month before the college hockey season was cancelled due to the coronavirus. I have selfies in the BU pep band, standing shoulder-to-shoulder with 50 Terriers  at a BU basketball game. Now, we can’t even play our instruments, let alone do it at a BU game.

This year, there are no fans, no bands, and consequently, no college sports atmosphere. I’ve been very lucky to attend several games myself through working for BU Athletics, but I miss my fellow fans, my band friends, my media colleagues, and everyone else who has been locked out of this covid-centered season. It just doesn’t feel the same without any of them.

I find this to be especially true at hockey games. I have seen the progression of the BU men’s hockey program first-hand, and it’s bittersweet to see the team peaking just when fans are forced away. Last year, the Terriers went a pedestrian 13-13-8, with a handful of ugly home defeats that had the BU faithful headed home early. Maybe they would have stayed if they knew those would be the last games they saw in-person! I remember columns popping up about attendance dipping at BU and other arenas around the country. Oh, how silly we were then.

While the on-ice product missed the mark at times last season, this year’s edition of the men’s hockey team has been exciting, entertaining, and at times, elite. The Terriers have home wins against two top ten opponents in UMass and Boston College — beating rival BC at home for the first time since 2017 — and have shot up the national rankings, cracking the top ten themselves for the first time since 2018. The team is poised to be a major postseason threat in Hockey East and likely in the national tournament as well, and yet, no one can be there to see it. It’s too bad.

Another note on the men’s hockey team for the history buffs and sentimental BU fans like myself is that the men are playing at historic Walter Brown Arena for the first time since moving across the street to the newer Agganis Arena in 2005. The decision to play at WBA was led by covid protocols and safety guidelines, but has made for a fun reminder of what BU men’s hockey used to look like. I was only five years old when the team left Wally B, but I really wish I could have been around to see them play there in front of a rabid BU crowd, especially with a winning team.

This is just one example of why I feel a sort of reserved joy about this season of sports. I’m certainly glad the teams are back in action, and it’s nice to see some of the teams doing well amidst all the unusual circumstances. But it’s just not the same. Hockey isn’t the same without the fans of all ages, basketball isn’t the same without my fellow student reporters, lacrosse isn’t the same without the packs of parents — the list goes on.

As we’ve all learned this year, though, you have to make due with what you have. I appreciate what the Athletics department has done to simulate a more recognizable game day feel, like playing the fight song and other BU hits from the band, as well as pre-recorded crowd noise during the games. It’s a bit odd to look around an empty venue and hear the murmur of hundreds of fans, but if it makes things more familiar for the athletes, then I’m all for it.

That said, when the time comes, I’ll be more than ready to get rid of these imitations and bring in the actual source of that irreplaceable ambience. That’s what college sports are all about, and when we get that back, even if it’s a fraction of what it usually is, things will start to feel right again. When the gates open, I hope fans at BU and across NCAA will flock to the stadiums — safely, please — and I hope people will remember just how special this experience is.

At its best, you can’t beat the game day atmosphere of college sports. I hope we can all enjoy it again soon.


Image taken by Brady Gardner


Brady: Remembering COM Grad Travis Roy

photo courtesy of BU Women's Hockey
photo courtesy of BU Women's Hockey

Late last week, the Boston University community lost a legend. Travis Roy, a former BU hockey player and College of Communication graduate, died at age 45, almost exactly 25 years after his first and final hockey game as a Terrier.

Roy’s significance at Boston University is not tied to the number of goals he scored as a highly touted talent, or how many championships he won as the Maine kid at his dream school. The fact is he never had the opportunity to score, and he never played in a championship game.

11 seconds into his first shift at BU’s 1995 season opener at Walter Brown Arena, Roy collided with the endboards head-first, instantly becoming paralyzed from the neck down. In a matter of moments, his playing days were done, and the life he knew was over.

That night and for several months after, Roy received major medical treatment, including spending long periods of time on a ventilator, before eventually being transferred to the Shepherd Center in Atlanta, Georgia. There, alongside other recovering quadriplegics, Roy found his new lease on life.

In a 2018 speech to BU Athletics, which is well worth a listen, Roy said that as his recovery progressed, he found satisfaction in the seemingly minor victories. Eating a bagel required the same amount of focus and energy as weightlifting had less than a year prior, but it was an accomplishment nonetheless. This attitude would fuel Roy as he transitioned back into society.

Returning to his freshman dorm, equipped with a motorized chair instead of a hockey bag, Roy resumed his college career. He graduated with a degree in Communications in 2000, joking in the speech that he probably finished his degree faster than some of his teammates did.

Without hockey in his life, Roy was forced down a different path. At a point when he expected to be advancing towards a career in professional hockey, Roy needed a new mission. Now, decades later, many people close to Roy have been quoted saying they believe he was able to do more and make more of an impact outside of hockey than he would have as a player.

In 1998, Roy published a book titled Eleven Seconds, detailing how he was able to cope with his new reality and take on the challenges he faced as a result of his injury. He also became a popular public speaker, addressing countless audiences in sports and beyond. Away from his own story, though, Roy helped improve the stories of others.

The Travis Roy Foundation was established in 1996, turning Roy’s incident into a source of hope and help for people like him. To this day, half of the funds raised go towards supplying spinal cord injury survivors with the technology and equipment they need, and the other half is put towards research. Donations can be made on the foundation’s website.

In his 2018 speech, Roy left open the possibility that if the technological advancements continued, he may be able to stand and perhaps even get on skates again someday. He may not have been able to fulfill that wish during his lifetime, but as many people around him have said since his passing, there is no doubt that he is skating somewhere now, out of his chair and back on the ice.


Personally, I didn’t know Travis Roy. I walked by him a couple times in the Agganis Arena concourse at BU hockey games, but I never got a chance to talk to him. I really wish I did.

Still, I feel a connection to Travis and his story. Not just because his number hangs on a banner high above the Agganis ice, or because I’m a nerd for Boston University hockey and his incident is such a prevalent event in its history.

Travis is an inspiration to me because, by all accounts, he is the kind of person we should all strive to be.

Travis is the perfect example of making the most of what you are given. No matter the circumstances, even those as tragic as his, a positive attitude and an optimistic outlook can get you through anything. One of my favorite quotes of his is, “opportunity is there if you choose to take it.” Regardless of what’s going wrong, there are ways to make it go right. You just have to find them.

If Travis can do as much as he did with the hand he was dealt, what’s our excuse?

Rest in peace, Travis Roy.

Brady: Finding Solace Through Sports

IMG_0830[5261]Over the last five months, almost every conversation I’ve had has tied back to the word “pandemic.” I’m sure I’m not alone in getting a little tired of talking about COVID-19, so while I am certainly continuing to follow all guidelines and live as safely as possible amidst a global pandemic, it is nice to have something that serves has a small but sufficient distraction from the unfortunate realities that we face. For me, that source of comfort has been the return of sports.

NASCAR and the PGA led the way back to competition in May and June, thanks to their naturally socially distant sports, and the more dominant American sports leagues have followed suit in the last few weeks. The MLS is concluding its “MLS is Back” tournament, held in an isolated community for MLS personnel only in Orlando. The NHL and NBA have each created similar “bubbles,” with hockey shifting to a new playoff format in Toronto and Edmonton and basketball relocating the conclusion of its regular season and playoffs to Orlando. The MLB worked out a shortened regional schedule to keep teams in their home ballparks with significant protocols in place, and that plan is yielding mixed results in the early stages of the season. The NFL is ramping up its preseason activities, hoping for a fairly unaffected regular season slate of games starting in September.

The NHL and NBA are the furthest into their 2020 campaigns, looking to conclude seasons that began last October. Several teams have already been eliminated from contention either through qualifiers or regular season results, so if you need a new team to root for, Boston has you covered.

The Celtics are in line to enter the playoffs as the third seed in the Eastern Conference, poised to make a push for the NBA title when their first postseason series tips off next week. The Bruins have been slow out of the gates since the restart but their regular season success meant they could land no lower than the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference, which is where they will be when the first round begins on Tuesday, taking on the young and talented Carolina Hurricanes.

The Red Sox don’t have quite the same championships aspirations as the B’s and C’s, but they’ve had a few encouraging signs over the last few days. Roughly a quarter of the way through their 60-game season, the Sox have experienced the range of inconsistent arms and slumping bats, but a few breakout players and big wins over divisional opponents last week have helped the team stay within contention for a playoff spot.

The Patriots aren’t in competitive action yet and won’t be until the regular season begins (fingers crossed) on September 13. However, there have been sightings of football in Foxborough with players gathering for an adapted training camp. The Revolution will also be back at Gillette Stadium soon after bowing out of the “MLS is Back” tournament in the Round of 16, looking ahead to an altered MLS regular season later this month.

There are undoubtedly far more important things than sports these days, but it has been nice to have something feel somewhat normal in a time where nothing else seems familiar. Whether it’s turning on a prime-time game after dinner or following along with some afternoon action, sports give us a reason to get excited and forget about what may be stressing us beyond the game. Sports are an outlet, a means of entertainment, and a mental vacation, and I think we could all use some of that these days.

Brady: BU’s secondary winter sport you need to follow

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There’s no doubt about the sports hierarchy at Boston University. Hockey reigns supreme, with the five-time national champion men’s team bringing thousands of fans to Agganis Arena on weekends throughout the winter and the women’s team consistently ranking among the top ten teams in the country.

Amidst the popularity of the school’s hockey teams, the Boston University men’s and women’s basketball teams have taken an undeserved back seat among BU’s winter sports. Nearing the end of their 2019-20 regular seasons, both squads currently sit among the top three teams in their respective Patriot League divisions.

The major differentiating factor BU hockey holds over BU basketball is its history, which leads to its superior attendance and increased interest. Will BU basketball ever make as much national noise as BU hockey has? Probably not. However, the more humble background brings more reasonable expectations, and that’s where BU basketball becomes appealing.

The Terriers will never be expected to go to the Final Four on the court the same way they’re asked to reach the Frozen Four on the ice. The bar is lower for BU basketball, but that means their goals are more attainable. Winning a Patriot League basketball championship would huge for the Terriers, and this season, that result could be a legitimate possibility.

BU’s basketball teams don’t carry the most prominent reputations or the most lofty expectations, but they’re as easy to root for as it gets. They have heart, they’re underdogs, and they’re fun teams to watch regardless of the outcome. In fact, more than half of BU’s 61 basketball games thus far this season have been decided by less than ten points, with BU victorious in 17 of those 31 games.

Both teams feature an effective mix of bruising power forwards, sharpshooting wings and crafty ball-handlers, ranging from potent youngsters to veteran leaders. They’re both poised to make a run in the Patriot League this postseason, so if you’re looking for an entertaining event and a high-quality product, get down to the hardwood.

BU basketball is making a playoff push, so get on board.

Brady: Podcasts, the Newest Old-Fashioned Technology

I was on the phone with my grandmother when I had quite the realization.

In a media-crazed culture that seems to become more technologically complex by the day, there are ways in which we’re not developing at all.

In fact, in certain areas, we’re going backwards.

My grandmother was asking what I had been up to earlier in the day, and I responded by saying I had recorded a podcast with a friend. She wasn’t familiar with the term “podcast”, so I had to explain it to her. In my explanation, I tried to find a certain connection between podcasts and something she would understand. Rather casually, I said it was like listening to the radio, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized just how interesting this comparison was.

When my grandmother was a child, she would switch on her radio and tune into her favorite style of music or the daily baseball game. That was her way to be entertained; experiencing media aurally. Later on in her life, entertainment moved to television, adding a visual element to the experience of the audience. In more recent years, “4D” movies have been created that implement a physical stimulus, and virtual reality has transported viewers into the content.

Over the years, media has become more and more immersive. But yet, podcasting is bursting onto the scene as one of the fastest-growing forms of entertainment. Why is that? In a world with more technology than we know what to do with, why are we so fascinated by the source that relies on the least amount of stimuli?

Why is podcasting suddenly so popular?

Quite simply, our culture is built in a way that allows podcasts to thrive. We live in a multi-tasking society, where hustling and bustling is the norm, and no one has time to slow down. We no longer prioritize live content or the latest releases: if we’re going to consume media, we’re going to do it on our own time.

Enter podcasts, the form of media that can be consumed in conjunction with the completion of other activities. Doing homework? You can listen to a podcast. Going for a run? You can listen to a podcast. Taking a shower? You can listen to a podcast. With this style of entertainment, you don’t need to allocate time to experiencing it. You can fit it in with your jam-packed life, and still get your fix of comedy, sports, politics, or whatever content you may be interested in.

Don’t get me wrong, “total immersion” media has its place. These forms of entertainment are most successful when their audience is willing to devote their entire focus for a certain amount of time to that specific show, movie, or whatever the content may be. However, that’s becoming more and more rare by the day. Our society isn’t as interested in putting this kind of time and attention into one thing alone, and podcasting is emerging as an attractive alternative.

In 2019, we are listening to our media just as our predecessors did nearly 100 years ago. Podcasts are taking us back in time, but that’s not a bad thing. It’s what we want. It’s what we need.

Podcasts are putting us in the past, and that’s ok.

Brady: Visit The Fenway Campus, You Won’t Be Disappointed

I’m just going to come out and say it.

The Fenway Campus deserves your respect, your attention, and your love.

It’s easy to forget about the new Fenway Campus, the former home of Wheelock College. Comprised of just a handful of street blocks along the Riverway, this previously private institution features classroom buildings, a library, a dining hall, a student theater, a variety of housing options for on-campus residents, and more. This was not some extension built to fill the needs of the larger Boston University: this was a fully developed college that thrived for decades before merging with BU.

Alright, so at least now you know the Fenway Campus exists. But what makes it worth your visit?

For starters, the recently-built Campus Center and Student Residences, simply abbreviated as CCSR, offers a complete dining hall, preparing a wide selection of meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The physical size and number of food options of this dining hall may be inferior to that of its Charles River Campus counterparts, but I prefer to see it as a matter of quality versus quantity. The CCSR dining hall serves significantly fewer students on average than the Warren Towers Dining Hall, Marciano Commons, and the West Campus Dining Hall. Therefore, the staff can devote more time to maintaining the quality of their meals and tailoring their cuisine to the individual who will be consuming it. Not only that, but the decreased demand means that food lines are shorter, tables are always available, and the overall dining experience is much more relaxed. Oh, and they have lemonade, frozen yogurt, and the good fries. You know what I mean.

Away from its dining hall, the Fenway Campus presents a plethora of quiet study spaces, including the Earl Center for Learning and Innovation, another modern building with comfortable seating, a third-floor outdoor terrace, and few regular occupants. The Wheelock Family Theatre presents several series of shows throughout the year, and is capable of holding a larger audience than the popular Tsai Auditorium on BU’s Central Campus. There are also multiple green spaces available where students can get away from the speed and sound of city living and spend some time sitting in the fields before leaves and snow come to make the grass disappear.

Students often blame their ignorance of this additional campus on the distance it sits from the Charles River Campus. However, let’s try to put this walk into perspective.

From Marsh Chapel, which is commonly regarded as the geographical center of Boston University, a southbound walk across the St. Mary’s Street bridge, through the BU’s South Campus, and down Park Drive to the Fenway Campus will take the average student 15 minutes. A 15-minute trek headed west from the same starting location will see students only get as far as Agganis Arena, which is still well short of the residences and athletic facilities that Central Campus dwellers regularly frequent without a second thought. So, does that 15-minute walk to the Fenway Campus still seem so intimidating?

As a former Warren Towers resident now living in the aforementioned CCSR, I understand the feeling that everything a student could possible need is on the Charles River Campus. However, the BU Bubble is real, and it will not take long for students to start feeling that this fall. So, when you need to get away from the familiar confines of Commonwealth Avenue, always keep in mind that your new friend, the Fenway Campus, will welcome you with open arms.

Brady: Studying in the City of Champions: Why college students must experience Boston sports

On Sunday, February 3rd, the New England Patriots won their sixth Super Bowl in the last 18 years, ending a 98-day drought since Boston last won a championship - just over three months ago, the Boston Red Sox were victorious in their fourth World Series of the 21st century.

Both championship titles sent students across the city into a wild state of euphoria, celebrating online and in the streets. But these aren’t students who have been Boston sports fans all their lives. These are students from all over the country, and for that matter, all over the world. So why are these fans all so consumed with a championship for a city they aren’t even from?

The answer to this question is actually quite straightforward. Simply put, when you study in Boston, you become a Boston sports fan. That is, if you let yourself become one.

Of course, there are the diehard fans from rival cities that will never be converted. But for most students, the interest in Boston sports is infectious. Once a student gets a taste for the perfect mix of history, passion, and success that makes this city’s sports scene so special, they can’t help but become a part of it.

Boston sports attract supporters from the full range of interests and experiences. There are the baseball buffs who have waited their entire lives to visit Fenway Park. There are the first-time fans just following the recommendations of others. Whether you are a seasoned sports veteran who has never had any interest in athletics, Boston sports have something for everyone.

I don’t have much convincing to do for the current sports enthusiasts out there, but for you newcomers out there, I understand your concerns. It’s hard to sit through a four-hour baseball game, or try to comprehend a sport you’ve never witnessed before. As strange as it may sound, throw yourself into the fire. Experience it once, and give it a chance to draw you in.

But let’s say you really can’t bring yourself to watch a game. Well, you’re lucky, because Boston sports extend beyond the stadium. If you so much as stroll around Fenway Park, for example, you will see the fans, smell the concessions, and sense the spirit of a game day at the ballpark. Just by being in the area, you will be a participant in the Boston sports scene.

You could be studying anywhere in the world, but you ended up here in Boston, arguably the greatest sports city in the world. Not only that, but you are also here at exactly the perfect time. The teams are championship-caliber, the city is buzzing after two titles, and the venues are just a walk or train ride away from your campus.

One cannot truly experience of this city without getting involved in its sports scene, so regardless of your previous interests or expectations, get out there and embrace the unparalleled excitement and excellence of Boston sports!