127th Boston Marathon

BU’s Substance-Free Watch Party for the Boston Marathon

BU Pep Band Cheers On Marathon Runners at the 2022 BU Student Health Services Watch Party at Ruggles Baptist Church. (Photo by Victoria Paspalas)

By Julia Nearis

Boston University News Service

Despite the vast amounts of partygoers in Boston, others look to enjoy watching the marathon runners in alcohol-free areas.

Boston University’s Student Health Services held such a watch party from 11:30 am-1:30 pm on the corner of Beacon Street and Park Drive. Health Services staff handed out free snacks and BU “swag”, with an appearance from the BU Pep Band.

Unlike most marathon gatherings, this watch party has been alcohol-free for a deeper meaning. Sarah Voorhees is the lead planner for Monday’s event and says that it’s an important space to make everyone feel included. 

“I think it’s really important to have spaces that are explicitly not for substance use, especially on days that have become or are associated with substance use or alcohol use specifically,” Voorhees said. 

She also touched upon the importance of students attending that choose not to drink for reasons such as a history of substance use with themselves or families, or just for those who want to enjoy a space where folks aren’t intoxicated or consuming substances. 

“I think it’s important to allow that option to have spaces that don’t always include drinking as a primary part of the event,” Voorhees said. 

 Chief Health Officer and Executive Director at Student Health Services Judy Platt also commented that it’s great that SHS “can offer a substance-free event to bring our entire community together”. 

With last year being the first annual watch part SHS hosted, Voorhees said that the turnout was highly attended with hundreds of students coming through. 

However, the location of this watch party is one of the reasons why the event is so special, according to Voorhees.  

“Students will be able to watch the elite runners come through about a mile from the finish line,” she said.

BU Athletics is one of the sponsors of this event. Senior Associate Director of Athletics Kristie Bowers said that she is thrilled to have athletics be a part of this event. 

“BU Athletics is excited to partner with offices across campus to provide students with a place to enjoy an iconic Boston event in a safe substance-free space. It is our hope that runners feel the pride our students have in being a part of the BU community as they complete this amazing feat,” Bowers said. 

Student Health Services encouraged everyone to come and experience Monday’s festivities for their second annual marathon watch party. With games, music and food, this event allowed the community to come together and be in an environment where it’s safe for anyone. 

Victoria Paspalas is the head of the BU band and says that playing at SHS’s watch party last year was extremely memorable for her and her crew.

“It is a great opportunity for the BU Pep Band to give back to our community…we’re ready to make this event even more memorable this year,” she said. 

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