OS Mythbusters: Can You Really Walk Across Campus In 15 Minutes?

If you’ve ever been on a formal campus tour (or worse, been stuck behind one on your way to class), you’ve probably heard the tour guide boast that, at Penn State, you can walk anywhere on campus in 15 minutes or less. You probably believed him or her too. A lot of things can be accomplished in 15 minutes, so why not add “walking across campus” to the list?

That opinion most likely changed the first time you had to walk from Hammond to Forum or East Halls to anywhere. Some people have never had a problem while others claim calves of steel and swear that every building is strategically placed to be as far away from the others as possible. We decided to set out and either confirm or debunk the Penn State myth once and for all.

1. West Halls to East Halls (Findlay Commons)

Time:. 14:32

West to East

This route was not actually intended to be a part of this experiment. We figured East would be nothing more than a good place to start, but decided to time the walk from West to East anyway. But what do ya know, right off the bat we’re pushing 15 minutes! If you had to go to the back half of East, or started further in West than McKee, the myth would definitely be busted. For now, however, we’re still in business.

2. East Halls (Findlay Commons) to Willard

Time: 14:19

East to Willard

Picture this: you’ve hit snooze one too many times and now it’s 7:45 a.m.. You could always skip your 8 a.m. (again), or you could throw on some shoes and try to book it across campus.

At a comfortable yet brisk pace, I was cutting it close, and I only walked to the middle of the first floor of Willard. If you had to hike up to the third floor, you’d have to add at least a generous minute or two, and there’s no way you’d be in your seat on time. All that being said, you technically can get from East to Willard in under 15 minutes.

3. Walker to Wagner

Time: 18:18

Walker to Wagner

I knew that the claim no longer held water when the nice lady from the Map My Run app came on in my ears and told me I’d already been walking for one mile — and I still couldn’t see Wagner. While it may not seem so bad at first thought, Curtin is longer and twisty-er than you might think, and Walker is on the opposite side of Burrowes.

4. Wagner to Forum

Time: 9:27


Again, we didn’t plan on including this one, but who would’ve guessed that Wagner is so far away from everything? The only reason I had Map My Run going during this trek was so, at the end, we could see how much walking was done during the experiment, but I was shocked that it took me almost 10 minutes to traverse that section of Curtin.

Recommendation so far: don’t schedule classes in Wagner unless you live in East or you can fly. Also, Curtin Road is problem child No. 1 of trying to get to class on time.

5. Forum to South (Redifer)

Time: 11:51


This route wasn’t too bad and came in well under 15 minutes. If you live in McElwain or Simmons it probably wouldn’t even take you 10 minutes. That being said, this trip would suck a lot more if you had to go from South to Forum merely due to the elevation change. Gravity, along with the fact that no one wants to spend more time than they have to in Forum, help get you from point A to point B under time.

6. Thomas to Kern

Time: 11:50


I definitely thought it would take at least 15 minutes to get from Thomas to Kern, but despite leaving from 100 Thomas and ending at the tables in Kern’s lobby, we didn’t even crack 12. You’re most likely going to need those three buffer minutes, however, to catch your breath and massage your calves after the vertical miles you put on. If this route was on a treadmill, the incline would be set to a steady four or five for practically the entire trip. Cons: you have to cross Curtin, which can be tricky during heavy traffic. As for pros: Au Bon Pain is waiting for you at the finish line, and at this point, let’s be honest — you’ve earned it.

7. Sackett to IM Building

Time: 20:00 flat

Sackett to IM

If you ever find yourself conquering this trek, you might as well just turn around and walk back home once you get to the IM Building because your expedition from Sackett is a work out in-and-of itself. Problems with this route include the fact that you, again, have to take on the North-South campus hill, as well as crossing Pollock, Curtin, Shortlidge, and Bigler, which can eat up a lot of time during heavy traffic at the end of the day.

8. Hammond (3rd Floor) to Forest Resources Building

Time: 19:29

Hammond to FRB

Similar to the previous route, the trip from Hammond to the Forest Resources Building puts you in class at least four minutes late. There isn’t really any way to get around this inconvenience of a journey, but if it’s cold out, I highly recommend cutting through the library instead of going under it. After traversing the entirety of campus more than twice, I can confirm that the minute or so of warmth that cut-through provides is enough to keep you going — and will maybe even shave some time off your trek.

Major takeaway so far: If you find yourself having to get from Southwest campus to Northeast campus, you’re going to have a bad time — or at least a mid-day jog — on your hands.

9. East (Hastings Hall) to Leonhard

This trip absolutely shatters the myth, coming in at, *drumroll please*: 25:53!

Hastings to Leonhard

It takes almost twice as long as you’ve been told it’s supposed to in order to get from the back of East all the way over to Leonhard! The kicker? There are people who have actually had to do this!

Understandably, critics of this crazy result might say, “Well, if you’re leaving from your dorm, you would have as much time as you need to get over to Leonhard.” While that is true, the claim is that you can get anywhere on campus in 15 minutes or less. Both of these buildings are definitely on campus, and it definitely took more than 15 minutes to get from one to the other. Additionally, I’m pretty sure it would take at least 20 minutes to get to Leonhard from just about any building on campus. That place is in the middle of nowhere. I had to use a map. I looked like a first-semester freshman, all in the name of science.

There you have it. 10.7 miles later, we can officially confirm that there is absolutely no way to get everywhere on campus in 15 minutes or less. Sure, every single journey won’t take you the full time allotted to walk from one class to the next, but there are definitely some routes that leave you no chance, barring a flat-out sprint or apparition.

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About the Author

Lexi Shimkonis

Lexi is an editor-turned-staff writer who can often be found at either Irving's or the Phyrst (with the chances she'll have her backpack being the same). Lexi is a senior hailing from Spring City, PA (kind of) and studying Civil Engineering. Please email questions and/or pleas for an Instagram caption to [email protected], or for a more intimate bond, follow her on Twitter @lexshimko.

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