Why are Northeastern’s underground tunnels so popular? We asked students on our Boston campus

students walking in underground tunnel
Students walk through the underground tunnels on Northeastern’s Boston campus. Photo by Matthew Modoono/Northeastern University

Every day, students from around the world navigate Northeastern University’s expansive Boston campus where the average February temperature hovers just above freezing. 

Joe Strummer is one of those students.

A 25-year-old graduate student from Estero, Florida, Strummer isn’t used to the cold. After all, it’s in the mid-70s back home on the shores of the Gulf of Mexico. So the mechanical engineering major does what many students here do—he goes underground.

Northeastern‘s tunnel system—a 16,705-foot network that connects 11 buildings—is a hidden gem, but not to Strummer. He uses it all the time.

“I definitely think the tunnels are helpful for people who want to use them,” he says. “A lot of people don’t like the cold. And if there’s a lot of snow or ice on the ground, it can become cumbersome to walk.”

One of the primary entrances to the tunnel system can be found next to the entrance of Northeastern’s bookstore in the Curry Student Center. 

That’s where Northeastern Global News interviewed students about their tunnel experiences:

Hrithik Puri, 22

A graduate engineering student from New Delhi, India, Puri is just getting used to winter in New England.

“I’m always in the tunnels,” he says. “This is my first time in Boston. When people told me there were tunnels under Northeastern, I was like, ‘Oh, when the temperature goes down, that’s where I’ll be.’ Now that I’m experiencing the cold, they’ve been really good.”

Esha Parikh, 18

An undergraduate student majoring in business and data science, the Kansas native used the tunnels almost every day. She likes the brightly lit spaces and colorful walls.

“I really like the variety of art on the walls,” she says. “There are some cool spaces underneath.”

Maria Anson, 23

An undergraduate student from India, Anson says the tunnels allow her to dress down, even during the worst winter weather.

“The tunnels connecting different halls are really helpful because we don’t need to take our jackets throughout the entire space,” she says. “We can just leave them behind, even at this time of the year.”

Joté Brown, 21

A graduate student majoring in electrical engineering, the New York native uses the tunnels to save time.

“This seems like a very interesting solution to racing around campus,” he says,

Maggie Tong,19 

An undergraduate computer engineering and science major from Virginia, she also uses the tunnels as a more efficient way of navigating to class.

“I live on campus, so if I’m running late to a class, I know the fastest way through the tunnels,” she says. “Cutting through is a more direct route.”

Tong remembers getting lost when she was a tunnel novice.

“Those are quite interesting and funny memories for me,” she says.

Axel Boly, 19

An undergraduate computer science major from New York, has never gotten lost in the tunnels. He appreciates that they are well marked.

“The arrow marks are very helpful,” he says. “They state the hall is in this direction or the other direction. If you follow the arrows, that helps for not being lost.”

Jocelyn D’Amato, 20

A mechanical engineering major from Boston, she would like to see more tunnels on campus.

“I think the tunnels are very helpful,” she says. “I honestly wish they were expanded, like across more parts of campus because it’s very windy and very cold here in winter.