Surviving the Campus Trek

illustration by Monica Nguyen-Vo

The quarter mile is by far the most frequently used, direct and fastest path from the residence halls to the academic side of campus. As wonderful as it is to have a direct route to and from each part of campus, it can — and does — fall victim to the elements, not to mention the periodic and excessive foot traffic congestion. Luckily, there are other routes to utilize, if you know the way.

Nature Trails

Perhaps not the most practical of choices, the trails in the woods are more likely to extend commute times rather than shorten them. However, if foot traffic is especially dense, the woods can become a valued shortcut. The trails can be confusing at first and the dirt paths tend to be hard to see during fall and winter, so for safety reasons it is best to avoid using them during poor weather or at night.

The main path, called Nature Trail, wraps around the woods. Because of this, it splits east and west, as well as north and south. The most useful route runs east to west, as it leads to academic side. Beware: the Nature Trail also diverges into smaller, often unnamed paths that twist, turn and section off unexpectedly. This is where the confusion happens. At the main entrance there’s a sign that details all the miniature paths in the woods. There are also signs, arrows and color markers on paths to look out for as guidance.


RIT has tunnels that can be used as shortcuts, too. However, the ones open for student use do not connect the academic side with dorm side, so there's unfortunately no way to entirely avoid the snow. The tunnels are still useful, however, for travel isolated within the dorms or academic side. The academic side tunnels also don’t reach the newer buildings on the far side of the campus. A complete map of all the tunnels is available on the Facilities Management Services website.

The dorm side tunnels may appear complicated, but they actually follow a basic U-shape. The northern-most end leads to the LBJ building and Dining Commons and the south goes to Grace Watson Hall. The residence halls are labeled throughout the path and there are several murals that can serve as landmarks as well as artwork to admire, making navigation easier. Inside the tunnels are the post office and Corner Store, located underneath NRH, and Sol’s Underground, another dining option below Sol Heumann Hall. The tunnels prove incredibly useful during the winter when bundling up to walk to dinner is an uninviting thought or you simply want to meet a friend late at night.

"The tunnels prove incredibly useful during the winter when bundling up to walk to dinner is an uninviting thought."

Academic tunnels are split between east and west. The east academic tunnels connect the Ritter Ice Arena, Clark Gymnasium, the SAU , Interfaith Center and the George Eastman building. The west academic tunnels connect the College of Liberal Arts, Wallace Library, Gosnell College of Science and the James E. Gleason building. These tunnels are more compact with specialized offices, classrooms and other commodities; however, they still make for a good shortcut and way to avoid the winter weather.


A few buildings that were constructed close to each other, such as the James E. Booth and Frank E. Gannett halls or the James E. Gleason and Golisano halls, are connected in other ways. A slight detour through buildings can provide temporary protections from the weather. A reliable short cut is the SAU, by entering through the Center of Religious Life or Campus Center, then exiting through the doorway next to Artesano's, or the basement door across from the library which links to the academic tunnels.

While all of this may seem confusing at first, once you get the hang of all the shortcuts, you'll be traversing campus like a pro.