(U-WIRE) WASHINGTON – For students all over the country, Super Bowl Sunday is not just an ordinary day of watching football.
“The Super Bowl is so much more than just the game, it’s a huge national cultural event” said Ali Crystal, 20, a student at the University of Maryland. “For me, it means watching all the commercials, the half time show and of course, going to parties and getting together with friends.”
According to the Super Bowl’s website, 78,125 people were present in Jacksonville’s ALLTEL Stadium for Sunday’s game, in which the New England Patriots defeated the Philadelphia Eagles to win their third championship title in four years. For students who were not so lucky to score tickets to the big game, there were many other options for ways to watch the game and have a good time.
Most students who did not want to attend university-associated events went to bars or parties with friends.
“I invited a bunch of friends over to my apartment and we ordered some pizzas and noshed on snack foods,” Crystal, a Patriots fan, said. “It was just a relaxing and much cheaper than going to a bar.” The ESPN Zone, a popular sports bar and restaurant in Washington, sold tickets at a price of $15 an hour for admission to their viewing party, which included raffles and prizes. Tickets to the event were sold out with only standing room available on game day. Bars frequented by students in Philadelphia and Boston were also popular choices for students to go to and enjoy the game in a large group.
Some colleges and universities held Super Bowl parties with free food for students to try to keep celebrations safe. Two college-aged individuals died last year in Boston after victory celebrations for the Patriots and Red Sox.
After the success of televising the World Series at the Nickerson Field, the university’s outdoor stadium, Boston University officials decided to broadcast the Super Bowl onto screens at Agganis Arena, a new inside venue.
“We hope students keep their personal safety in mind, but this will be a place to come watch where students can scream and yell, and it’s alright for them to do that there,” Kenneth Elmore, Boston University Dean of Students, said in the Daily Free Press, a BU student newspaper.
At Northeastern University in Boston, three university-sponsored, alcohol-free parties offered students free pizza, soda, T-shirts and the chance to win an I-pod or a flat screen TV, in addition to the heavy security in place and limited alcohol sales to college students around the city.
“I’ve seen lots of fliers around, gotten letters and had a floor meeting with my RA about the added security and parking restrictions around campus,” said Northeastern freshman Anthony Lella. “NU and the city are really being watchful.”
Boston Mayor Thomas Menino also asked local liquor stores to restrict alcohol sales to students for the Super Bowl.
In Philadelphia, universities also took security measures to prevent riots from breaking out and to insure student safety. Temple University’s Dean Ainsley Carry sent an email out to all students, faculty and administration members Tuesday advising them to celebrate with caution.
Each of Temple’s residence halls hosted a Super Bowl viewing party in their lounges in addition to a big screen viewing with free food sponsored by Student Activities. At Westchester University, outside of Philadelphia, sophomore Angela Kolachny said she attended a face painting day and spirit days showing her Eagles pride. “Everyone here is just so excited and the Eagles are all any one around here is talking about,” Kolachny said. “Many of my friends decided to rent and decorate a van or bus to go down to Jacksonville to tailgate and try and find some tickets.”
In addition to a big screen viewing at the student recreation center, Kolachny said that many student organizations, including fraternities, are using the Super Bowl as a fund raising venue. “One of the frats is having a party and an Eagles costume contest where all proceeds go to benefit local charities,” Kolachny said. “The Eagles are also donating money to charity for the Super Bowl. It is nice to see the team using their fame and fortune this year for a greater good.”