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Onward Investigates: Nittany Lion Roar…Or A Toilet?

“No one is so brave that he is not disturbed by something unexpected.”

– Julius Caesar

There I was, sitting in the middle of my hydrogeology class, when I heard it.  Though the noise was faint, I immediately knew what had happened: the toilet flushing in the bathroom across the hall sounded exactly like the Nittany Lion.

The trademark Nittany Lion roar, played at most major Penn State sporting events, has been fully branded on my prefrontal cortex as a result of many freezing tailgates, unbelievable Saquon Barkley plays, and Blue Band performances.

Thus, I channeled my inner investigative journalist and set off to find the toilet on campus that sounded most like the Nittany Lion. This is peak journalism, folks.

I began my research in Willard — a popular, versatile building on campus that I felt set a solid baseline for my data collection.

Flush #1: Willard Building

I’ll admit I was disappointed. Though there seemed to be a deeper growl towards the beginning of the flush, it didn’t “wow” me the way that I was hoping. To my dismay, the Willard toilets just sound like toilets.

My next stop was a newer building on campus: Huck Life Sciences.  I hypothesized that the younger toilets would have sturdier pipes from fewer butts wearing them down.

Flush #2: Huck Life Sciences Building

I was definitely getting closer, but this wasn’t 100 percent the gnarl I had my heart set on. The initial gurgle was too deep, and I wasn’t getting intense football weekend flashbacks. On to the next one.

Flush #3: Whitmore Lab

Finally! I had found a toilet flush that actually sounded like an animal, albeit a snake, but I was getting closer. Over the intense toilet hissing, I realized I needed to go back to where I first had my epiphany, where I first had that undeniable moment of clarity among the discussions of aquifer porosity and stream flux…The Electrical Engineering West building.

Flush #4: Electrical Engineering West

Yes — this was it.  Though my recording doesn’t do the second-floor third stall toilet justice, it really does sound like the Nittany Lion (for twenty-nine seconds, oh my god, it was the longest flush I’ve ever heard). The initial lower tone followed by the energetic guzzle can be found in both recordings. For your convenience, I’ve edited these sounds back to back.  Get ready for the truth.

Nittany Lion Roar followed by the toilet

There you have it: a toilet flush that sounds more or less like the Nittany Lion.  I don’t know what the lion really sounds like, but I like to think it sounds like a toilet on our very own campus. I don’t know what’s more spirited than that.

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About the Author

Ali Richards

Ali is a geoscience major and the copy editor for Onward State. She's from Washington, DC (Go Caps!), enjoys gneiss rock puns, and dislikes wavy chips. You can reach her at [email protected], or follow her on Twitter @haveagneisslife.

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