Ever since the earliest days of its construction, Boston College’s new athletic complex has been eagerly awaited by the campus community. Rachel King, MCAS ‘20, suggests that arguably the most hotly-debated topic this semester is how to adopt the new building, eloquently labeled “Margot Connell Recreation Center,” into daily colloquial lingo.
The two frontrunners in such a debate include the feminist-favorite “Margot’s” and the familiar “New Plex,” though some periodically prefer to go a more creative route with “The Ter.” Whichever name you favor, each has its own degree of reasoning, though some seem to hold significantly less reputability than others (I’m looking at you, “Ter”).
Many of those arguing for “Margot’s” point to the fact that there is not a single building on campus named after a woman. Thus, students should highlight this landmark by addressing the center with Connell’s name, as she is the donor who made its creation possible.
To this point, Grace Lau, MCAS ‘22, offers, “I personally call it Margot’s, because it’s named after a woman, and I want to honor that. Female empowerment, baby!”
Especially considering that it’s an athletic building, this name could help women feel represented in a space stereotypically believed to be male-dominated.
“At the same time,” Lau continues, “I only ever say ‘New Plex’ because it just rolls off the tongue more.” For those students who choose “New Plex,” the name is all about what’s familiar. The majority of upperclassmen are so used to the catchy ring which comes with, “I’m heading to the Plex,” that it seems only fitting to continue on that same linguistic path.
Freshmen often feel that they have to latch onto whatever they hear upperclassmen say in order to avoid being ostracized by the BC Community, so in this way “New Plex” seems to have filtered down through the ranks.
Finally, there seems to be a third option for the beautiful new center: “The Ter.” On first glance, this name makes little to no sense, but once receiving an explanation, many students like the idea.
“The Plex,” originally short for the Flynn Recreation Complex, takes the last syllable of the building name in order to shorten its label. “The Ter” seeks to have the same effect. It is short, quick, and easy-to-remember, making it a fan-favorite among students looking for an edgier alternative.
Why do BC students insist on this process at all? McElroy Dining Hall has become “Mac,” Corcoran Commons is referred to as “Lower,” Vanderslice Hall as “Vandy,” and Welch Dining Room/Lyons Dining Hall as “The Rat.” The Margot Connell Recreation Center, then, must follow suit.
There might be a psychological aspect to the phenomenon. Abbreviating the names of buildings helps to solidify BC students as members of what’s known as an “in-group”—collections of people in which the members feel connected by a common identifier. By abbreviating the names of places on campus, BC students create a stronger bond with each other in a way that makes them feel like part of an exclusive club.
Following standard naming conventions helps identify who is part of the group and who isn’t—for example, being able to tell what grade someone is in when they ask (incorrectly) “Hey, how do I get to ‘The Slice’?” in reference to Vandy. Since the person neglected to follow the rules of campus dialect, it would have then been clear to any conversation partner that they aren't yet part of the in-group and thus, must be a freshman.
Frankly, deciding upon a unified name for the Margot Connell Recreation Center has to happen. How else will BC students be able to bond over yet another turn-of-phrase which no one but them quite understands? Nicknaming the building is an inevitable christening of BC campus culture, for what has become a widely celebrated and acclaimed new addition to the university.