Duke has numerous programs that encourage students to explore intellectually and globally, but it seems many students have found other realms for exploration not officially sanctioned by the administration.

Running under both East and West Campuses are tunnels used for distributing utilities such as power and steam to dorms and other buildings. Though there is a steam line running between East and West, there is no tunnel connection between the two.

It has become a tradition for Duke students to explore these tunnels, perhaps more accurately describes as connected basements, as one of five unofficial “graduation requirements” (the other four being a backwards drive around the traffic circle, climbing Baldwin Auditorium and sexual escapades in both Sarah P. Duke Gardens and Perkins Library).

A quick Google search yields a plethora of results about how to gain access to the tunnels as well as videos of their interiors, which range from cramped corners to relatively spacious hallways. But the resource would probably be experienced students.

A quick walk around the backside of the East Campus Quadrangle provides an opportunity into the subterranean lairs through ground-level windows.

According to University Archivist Valerie Gillespie, sections of the tunnels were designated as nuclear fallout shelters during the 1960s. She said animals occasionally take up residence in them.

As a caveat for those students looking to explore, John Noonan, vice president for facilities warned that Duke’s tunnels are officially “off-limits” for those without authorization and training.

“They were not designed for pedestrian access between buildings,” Noonan said. “We are very safety conscious in the facilities department.”

Neither Noonan nor Gillespie said they had ever heard of anyone dying in the tunnels as is occasionally rumored.