Fact or Fiction: Weber State’s Urban Legends, Part 2

SPOILER ALERT: If you haven’t read my first article about popular myths at Weber State, check it out here.

The Adventurers

I grabbed three of my friends to go with me, I needed them as independent verification (plus they couldn’t believe I actually got somebody to show me around down there).  And we had three tour guides Jake, Jake and Dustin (and no that’s not a typo, evidently Jake is a popular name among tunnel dwellers).

The Descent

We met up with our guides at the facilities management building and they escorted us to the designated tunnel entrance. And although I can’t disclose where the entry was exactly, I can say that I’ve walked past the spot everyday, multiple times a day in fact. It’s literally hidden in plain sight. So we walked down a flight of cement stairs which took us to the tunnel portal and once Jake opened the door we stepped down a few more metal stairs.  Then we reached a landing, which was filled with pipes, levers, buttons, gauges, switches, wheels, handles, and every sort of gadget you could possibly imagine. It looked like the secret laboratory from some steampunk mad scientist. From this staging area we started down a narrow hallway to begin our journey through the underground tunnels of Weber State.

No ghouls or ghosts, but lots places to get lost

Before our arrival, I had pictured that the tunnels were massive enough to fit an elephant, and creepy enough to host a séance. But as I walked through the corridors, they were the size of a normal hallway and instead of the  spider webs and mold I had expected, they were surprisingly quaint (well, as quaint as underground tunnels can be).  The tunnels are mostly cement and the hallways are lined with pipes on both sides. There were puddles of water and mud around from recent storms and I wished I had galoshes instead of my useless flip-flops.

What I was not prepared for was how expansive it was. We walked for about 30 minutes and were still only under one building. I started to see how easy it would be to get lost down there, and overwhelmed by the idea that these tunnels run throughout the entire campus. But I was not the only one who had concerns while we were down there. “I felt claustraphobic the whole time,” said my friend.  “I just kept picturing what would happen if a pipe broke, or if there was an earthquake. Or what if there really were little people living down there.”

So. . . what are the tunnels for?

The tunnels are filled with a vast amount of pipes that circulate super heated steam to heat every building on campus.  “Steam goes up, then goes through a heat exchanger, heats water and the water circulates through the buildings” explained Jake, the Building and Sustainability Manager. “We don’t have any boilers or furnaces in the buildings, it’s all done through central steam.”   So basically the tunnels and vast network of steam pipes act as a central heating unit for all the buildings on campus. It’s way more efficient than having separate boilers for each individual building.

Tunnel Facts

  • The tunnel network is 1.5 miles long.
  • The tunnels are connected to every building on campus.
  • The tunnel workers (Jake and Dustin) spend about five hours a day in the tunnels fixing leaks and increasing the efficiency of­ the system.
  • No, they do not pull awesome pranks on each other while they’re down there (I had to ask).
  • The pipes can expand 2 inches for every 100 feet because of the heat.
  • Some pipes are not only 330 degrees, but also run about 100 PSI.  Which is pretty high pressure (about the same as a large air compressor).
  • The steam in the pipes move at about 70 mph.

We asked our guides if they would be worried to be in the tunnels alone. “We don’t ever come down here alone,” said Jake. “We have a rule of two. No one is down here alone. Ever.”

“Ever,” the other two added.

“If something happens down here no one comes down to look for you,” said Dustin. Hmm. Well that’s kind of frightening, and at the same time I more fully appreciate my above ground desk job.

Conclusion: The underground tunnels are real and we have got the photos to prove it.

Just hoping that nothing explodes during our trip.

When we opened the door. . .no one was there.

Pyrogel insullation, beware, my hand was dry for the next week!

Our trusty guides, Jake, Dustin, and Jake.

We totally photoshopped this. . .Or did we?

Stress Management – There’s a lab for that

Let’s face it, most WSU students endure an unending battle with stress. Work, family, classes… it all adds up and you’re left with too many obligations and not enough hours in the day. To help combat the daily pressures of your life as a student, Weber State University Stress Relief Center offers an array of nirvana inducing relaxation strategies. Sponsored by the Health Promotion program in the Department of Health Promotion & Human Performance at WSU, the center includes:

-Massage Chairs
-Chi Machine
-iPods & iPads
-Light sound machines
-Biofeedback machine
-Inversion table

What can I expect when I go to the lab?

Students will normally be greeted by a staff member, who will show them around the stress lab. You can then treat this like a smorgasbord, and find your favorite stress-relieving technique.

What are the lab’s hours?

Monday: 8:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. / 11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Tuesday: 9:00 a.m.  – 6:00 p.m.

Wednesday: 8:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. / 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Thursday: 10:15 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Friday: 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Where is this utopia?

The Stress Relief Center is located on the WSU Ogden Campus in the Swenson Complex on the second floor in rooms 60 and 61.

How do I sign up?

You don’t have to sign up to use the stress center. All you have to do is swipe your wildcat card to gain entry into the Swenson Complex. Other than that you can just walk on in.

If the stress center isn’t appealing to your taste, maybe you can make your own stress reduction kit…

Get To Know A Major: Visual Arts

You know, not all schoolwork involves crunching numbers and pouring through dense textbooks every night. It can be fun, too. In the Department of Visual Arts (DOVA), you are encouraged to express yourself and harness your own creative problem–solving abilities. While in the art department, you’ll experience painting (Picasso never worried about paint on his clothes, why should you?), photography, drawing (but if naked bodies freak you out, stay far away from Figure Drawing), graphic design, art history, ceramics and many other disciplines.

The Department of Visual Arts (DOVA) is housed in a new, state–of–the–art (pun fully intended!) facility, is ran by experienced professors (all of whom are practicing artists), and provides a great opportunity to work hard, get creative, and release some of that pent up energy and frustration (thanks boss!).

5 Clues You Might Be An Art Major:

1)   You are the foremost expert in macaroni art.
2)   Thanks to the kids, your fridge is now an art gallery, and you are its curator.
3)   You reward yourself by watching Bob Ross on TV during the day.
4)   You wish scrap–booking could be a career.
5)   You marvel at the inherit beauty of a perfectly engineered tower of dirty dishes in the kitchen sink, and are moved as warm tap water slowly and elegantly cascades from the crowning Sippy cup, down and around the abundance of mucky utensils, and into the pedestal–like cereal bowl which, though still half–full, glistens a pale pink, colored by the presence of soggy marshmallows… or something like that.

Degrees / Programs Available:

Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA):

  • Art Teaching—provides a depth of knowledge for prospective art teachers
  • 2D Media—for artists interested in painting, drawing, or printmaking
  • 3D Media—for artists interested in ceramics, sculpture, or small metals/jewelry
  • Photography—provides technical and artistic expertise in both digital and analog imaging
  • Visual Communication—for artists interested in the graphic design profession

Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts (BS or BA)

  • Art Teaching Composite (requires a teaching minor)—for prospective teachers who feel they might need a greater breadth (as opposed to depth) of knowledge
  • General Art—a generalized education that focuses on foundations and provides more breadth of knowledge

For more information about Visual Arts degrees, visit the DOVA website below.

Career Opportunities:

Depending on your chosen program, visual art majors can be employed as self–sustaining artists, professional photographers, graphic and web designers, arts administrators, teachers, and many more.

Advising / Contact:

For those students interested in studying in the Department of Visual Arts, consult with Outreach Coordinator/Advisor Lydia Gravis at lydiagravis@weber.edu or (801) 626–7689.

DOVA on Facebook
DOVA on Twitter

Little Known Resources: Free Workshops

Got Skills?

Do you have a friend who is just so good at everything?  I know you do. We all do.  This is the amazing person that can be baking the perfect crème brule one minute and go right to changing the oil in the family car.  How do they DO it? Well, yet again, Weber State is here to help and this time your knight in shining armor is coming from the WSU West Center and Davis Campus.

Free Workshops to the Rescue

The West Center and Davis Campus offer workshops that are absolutely jam packed with valuable information.  Some of them pertain to skills you can use to get back in to school and some are things you can use in your everyday life.  For example, this summer they are offering classes on:

  • Financial planning.
  • Communication strategies.
  • Summer time family fun ideas.
  • Methods of memorizing.

Did I mention that they are totally and absolutely free?

Online Workshops

Don’t have the time to stop by the workshops?  Well tons of awesome workshops from photography to weight-loss to child-rearing skills are available online.  These workshops are a little more in-depth and run $95 each.  They generally last for about 6 weeks each and do not count for college credit.  What better way to get yourself into the college going mode?  Not to mention you can cultivate some great skills along the way.


Check out this website for the free workshops and this one for the online workshops.

Fact or Fiction: Weber State’s Urban Legends

If you’ve spent any time at Weber State you’ve no doubt heard of some of the mysterious legends around campus. For decades students have shared stories about all kinds of supernatural phenomena, everything from strange lights by the observatory to secret doors and passageways. So I decided to look at a few of these urban legends in more depth to see if there is any truth to these stories.


True Wildcats

Are there really such things as “true” wildcats, and if so does that mean there are also false wildcats? Becoming a “true” something at most college campuses implies kissing at a designated time and place. But the real question is does Weber have the same tradition? So I asked a couple of students who claim to be “true” Wildcats.

“Kissing under the bell tower at midnight,” confirmed one student.

“The night of homecoming you stand on the bell tower plaza and you kiss for all twelve chimes . . . it’s not just a peck; it’s twelve freakin chimes!” So another student claimed it has to be a homecoming ritual to be authentic, and quite a lengthy kiss too.

“I call it, rockin’ the twelve bells,” said another student. This has to be my favorite euphemism associated with the “true” Wildcat ritual, and I heard many in my research.

CONCLUSION: Looks like the “true” Wildcat tradition is totally real. You’re next chance to become one is Friday, October 14, 2011.  Mark it on your calendars and don’t forget your chapstick.

Ghosts and Haunted Buildings

Reports of missing assignments, forgotten finals, and students mysteriously tripping on campus have caused a recent uptick in rumors of ghosts on campus. Older buildings on campus seem to have more spooky sounds, but I could find no stories of specific hauntings. Everybody seems to have a second-hand story about some tortured student or disgruntled professor whose soul is trapped on campus, but each story I heard was short on specific details.

CONCLUSION: Other than a bunch of superstitions over at the theater department (Peacock feather? seriously?!), I couldn’t find any credible tales of hauntings or wayward spirits.

Underground Tunnels

During my freshman year, I heard a rumor that there were underground tunnels at Weber.  My interest was piqued immediately and I needed to know more. So I asked a few of my friends and professors if they knew anything about the tunnels. “I have never heard of anything like that but I think if they have underground tunnels we could probably get underground parking,” answered Vicki Thompson, Student Body President.

Well, no help there but maybe underground parking is in our future Weber. . . hardly! Some people weren’t very open and I could tell they were hiding something from me like TBE professor Laura Macleod,  “For the record? . . . (long pause) I’ve never heard about them.”

Another student claimed that they had “heard rumors that homeless people sneak into the underground tunnels to keep warm.”

So despite my fear of hobbits and other underground inhabitants, I knew this was one legend where I could get definitive answers. So I made a few phone calls to building managers on campus and was finally put in touch with Jake Cain, the Energy and Sustainable Manager on campus.  I thought I would have to be crafty about tricking Jake into confirming the presence of tunnels on campus but he readily he told me that he knew a lot about the tunnels and that he worked in them on a daily basis. ARE YOU KIDDING ME! I could hardly believe my ears. I wanted to scream out, but I tried to play it cool.  I finally had official confirmation that one of Weber’s most popular legends was actually true. I knew I couldn’t let this opportunity pass without trying to get a first-hand account, so I threw out the idea of setting up a tour. I was sure that he would shoot me down, that I didn’t have the proper clearance or training.

Instead he said, “Sure, when can you come by?”

I’ll post more about my adventure in the coming weeks, stay tuned.