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Wicked Good Olympics: How a Boston 2024 Bid Could Affect Suffolk University

Mayor Marty Walsh expressed his support on Monday for a possible Boston hosting of the 2024 Summer Olympic Games.

At an event to create support, Walsh changed his position on the issue from divided to supportive, referring to Boston as a “walk-able Olympics with a lot of venues here.”

For many already in the Boston area, the close quarters are just the problem. One major advantage Boston has for hosting the Olympics is the amount of college and major league sports facilities in the area. There has even been talk of beach volleyball in the Boston Common. Other new sports facilities could be built in surrounding suburbs.

But where would an Olympic Village be built? Where would the hundreds of thousands of tourists and athletes eat and sleep? How would it affect Suffolk University?

For anyone at Suffolk right now, the Olympics are so far in the future, they won’t leave a personal impact on education.

But still, some students have expressed concern.

“With an influx of people, comes safety issues,” said Olivia Damore, a Suffolk student.

The Boston Marathon bombings displayed the city’s ability to quickly and adeptly respond to emergency situations, but students in summer sessions may not want those chances taken on their campus.

Suffolk prides itself on having a campus “in the heart of the city”. The Beacon Hill area is beautiful and historic, but it’s also cramped and hard to navigate.

Nearly every Suffolk student has had a lost tourist come up to them for directions. Now imagine doing that with an arrival of hundreds of thousands of people; not to mention how crowded the surface streets, the T, and the highways would be.

Communications teacher Vicki Karns summed up the chaos the bid could create by saying, “the only reason I think it’s a good idea is because I’m not here in the summer.”

Public transportation would have to be updated for an Olympic sized event. The T is the oldest subway system in the country, and it shows.

As for the roads, potholes would have to be smoothed over and heavily congested areas would need new engineering to ease traffic flow. New housing would have to be built for athletes. For any Suffolk students in the Boston area after graduation, this could mean a tax increase. With the Big Dig still fresh on people’s minds, the budget can be a scary topic. The cost of the 2012 London Olympics was over 9 billion dollars.

Updating public transportation and reinvesting in more residential areas are causes Boston needs to look into anyway. Both of these concerns address not just college students, but also Boston’s citizens as a whole.
Ultimately, the Olympics are about national pride and international relations. This coincides greatly with Suffolk’s love for Boston and its strong international student influence. For a city that loves sports, hosting the Olympics would be an interesting challenge.

Boston is currently against Los Angeles, Washington DC, and San Francisco for the United States’ bid. The International Olympic Committee will make a final decision on bids from around the world in 2017.

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