Northeastern University was established in 1898 as part of the Boylston Street YMCA. Called “The Evening Institute for Younger Men,” the university strove to teach skills useful to Boston’s growing immigrant population. The Northeastern University of the Boston Young Men’s Christian Association, as it was renamed in 1922 (it would drop the YMCA affiliation entirely in 1948), expanded rapidly.
Following the post-war education boom, NU began admitting women and created a number of specialized schools, however it remained a commuter school until, under the leadership of President Richard Freeland, the school opened $455 million in new facilities, including dorms. Since then, and especially in the last few decades, the university has added multiple colleges, over a dozen residence halls, and has become one of the better schools in the region.
Despite its urban setting, Northeastern has a surprising amount of lawn. Starting in 1988, then President Freeland launched a program to rejuvenate the campus and increase interest in NU. This initiative began with the creation of the Northeastern Quad, allowing for a more unified field than is typical of most urban campuses.
The campus is also rather unique for its network of underground tunnels connecting some of the earlier buildings, which are intended for use in inclement weather.
Northeastern is located in the Fenway and Back Bay areas of Boston. Huntington Avenue, also sometimes called the Avenue of the Arts, cuts right through the middle of campus. As such, students never want for something to do. The Museum of Fine Arts is practically across the street from some of the residence halls, and the Prudential Center is steps away. Students can easily get around town, to the South End, out to Jamaica Plain, as well as most other areas in the city via T (the subway) or bus.
The husky statue in the lobby of Blackman Auditorium is said to be good luck—rub its nose whenever you walk past it or before an exam.
Jane Curtin is an Emmy and Golden Globe Award-winning actress.
Shawn Fanning is a computer programmer and the founder of Napster, which he conceived while attending Northeastern.
Jim Fahey is a pro hockey player with the Chicago Blackhawks.
Edward F. Hennessey was chief justice of Massachusetts State Supreme Court from 1976 to 1989.
Nat Hentoff is a historian, novelist, columnist, and critic whose work appears in various publications.
Reggie Lewis was a pro basketball player with the Boston Celtics. His number, 35, was retired when he died of a heart attack during an off-season practice.
Northeastern is not a school with a large sports fan base, and, while there are a number sports teams, the games are often poorly attended. The Northeastern Huskies men’s hockey team is notable, however and has produced a good number of pro athletes.
Other varsity sports include men’s baseball, basketball, football, soccer, rowing, track and field, and cross country, and women’s hockey, basketball, volleyball, swimming, soccer, rowing, and also field hockey. There are also club and intramural sports to get involved in.
Napster was invented by Shawn Fanning while he was still attending Northeastern and, in the 2003 remake of The Italian Job, one of the characters claims to have gone to Northeastern and to have been the real inventor of Napster. Shawn Fanning also appears briefly in the movie.
There are a number of freshman dorms, on campus that are fairly similar - Stetson East, Stetson West, Light, Melvin, Kerr, Speare, 319 Huntington, 153 Hemenway, Kennedy, Smith, White, and West F. Generally, the dorm rooms themselves are set up in doubles, triples, or quads, in boxy rooms. All are outfitted with either bunked or single beds, a desk and dresser, and some limited closet space. Bathrooms are communal, and usually marked by gender. There are lounge areas with TVs and couches, some nicer than others in all the buildings, and there are dining halls in both Stetson East and Stetson West. Kennedy Hall is considered by many to be the better of the dorms, as the majority of the rooms have their own in-room bathrooms, as well as common rooms. There are also a handful of single rooms in Kennedy. West Village F (just like the upperclassman housing described below) is currently the freshman honors dorm, and the lucky kids who get placed there are the envy of freshmen and upperclassmen alike.
Upperclassman housing has a much greater range than the freshman housing. One great perk that many other universities do not offer is that since Northeastern upper-class students are often on coop, and not on campus to use the dining halls, all non-freshman housing contains in-apartment kitchens. The freedom of being able to cook your own meals is a feature that most NU students appreciate, especially with Shaw’s, Stop and Shop, Whole Foods, and Trader Joe’s within walking distance. There’s a range of prices and styles of non-freshman housing, so the more dollar-conscious students can still live on campus if they want, while other students can choose to splurge a little more. There are singles, doubles, and apartments with capacities of two to five people to choose from. Enhanced housing is the most expensive of the options at NU, but also has the most perks. The West Village area dorms, for instance, feature bigger, airier rooms, larger kitchens (with dishwashers), and common rooms. They are also the newest of the buildings, and also have fewer technical issues or mice.