An Ode to the Dustbowl


While the Boston College student body is studying, some progress has finally been completed on-campus with regards to their institutional master plan. With the opening of Stokes Hall on the Boston College campus, it’s an appropriate time for BC alumni older than 24 to reminisce on what was at our school.

Oh sure, it’s a nice building and it fits in very well with every other building on campus, but as someone who attended the school from 2004 to 2008, a time at which Stokes was still in a rock quarry somewhere, I will probably never get used to seeing it there. That is not necessarily a disapproval of the building, just a sign that things are changing and I am aging (which is better than the only feasible alternative, mind you).

The students at Boston College today don’t even know what the Dustbowl was, and they won’t now, because there’s a building on top of it. I can remember down that diagonal walkway from the Gasson quad, starting near Lyons, all the way to McElroy. On both sides, there would be people in the grass hanging out, playing frisbee, and sometimes setting up tables to try to solicit donations. One time, a Heights reporter even asked me a survey question there, which was probably (sadly) the most important thing that happened to me that weekday.

I also very clearly remember the first time College Gameday visited Boston College in 2005, before BC’s first ACC game while hosting the Florida State Seminoles. The entire area was packed with people. These days, it might be a tighter fit (but let’s be honest, Gameday isn’t coming back for a while).

Now, there’s a grassland in front of Stokes, but it’s not the old Dustbowl. There was plenty of room to spread out back in the day which isn’t there now. But in de-greening the Dustbowl (which is a somewhat ironic statement in and of itself), they greened up O’Neill Plaza, which counts for something.

Stokes Hall will stand on Boston College’s campus for many years to come as a fine example of Neo-Gothic architecture, but its opening is a reminder to all alumni that like our lives have changed since we left BC, so too will the school itself change. At least we’re not alone in that regard, because the BC we visit in 20 years probably won’t look familiar to the current students, either.

If you think alumni are nostalgic now, wait until they get rid of the Mods.