Students have used the tunnels at the River Campus since they were first built in 1927. In the first years of the tunnels’ use, freshmen were consigned by sophomores to use the tunnels for all of their on-campus travel – even in clement weather. Since then, all students have used the tunnels to avoid inclement weather.The tunnels have also been used for student pranks. On one occasion, students cinder-blocked both ends of the tunnel, forcing students to go all the way around the quad if they wanted to remain in the tunnel system and not go outside.The tradition of painting the tunnel walls originated at the beginning of the 1970s, when students began placing graffiti on the walls with aphorisms such as, “Life is a category mistake” and “This is a good tunnel, but not a great one.” In recent years, tunnel painting has become a group activity for Greek organizations, class councils and other groups hosting special events.The original measurements of the Hoyt tunnel are 250 feet in length, 10 feet tall and six feet wide.According to associates at the Henrietta Home Depot, it takes, on average, about four layers of paint to cover each successive paint job. Due to human error, there can be a different number of paint layers from area to area of the tunnel. Over time, paint has also peeled off the walls unevenly, making the thickness uneven.In order to determine the rate at which the tunnel is closing in, the tunnel was measured at points spaced every five feet along the length of the tunnel. In some areas, the width of the tunnel was as small as 67.5 inches, but in other areas it was as big as 71 inches. On average, the tunnel was 69.8 inches wide. That would mean that since the wall was painted in 1970, the tunnel has shrunk by 2.2 inches.Since 1970, the tunnel has begun to clog at the rate of about 0.065 inches per year. If the tunnel continues to close up at this rate, it will completely close in about 1,074 years.

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Editor’s Note (5/4/24): This article is no longer being updated. For our most up to date coverage, look for articles…

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