Books tour

By JULIA RAPPAPORT  |  April 29, 2009

The ashes are supposedly stored in a peanut-butter jar in the athletic director's office, while the taxidermied tail is said to be preserved in the Tufts Digital Collections and Archives. So there's not much for a campus tourist to actually see. But to this day, Jumbo's spirit lives on as the school's mascot, and there is a statue of the beast on campus. Elizabeth Sutton, a class of 2005 alumnae and president of the Boston Tufts Alliance, explains that good luck is supposed to come to students who place pennies on the statue's trunk.

Come exam time, the statue is awash in coins.

The Northeastern Tunnel Maze
Northeastern is known for its strong co-op program, but if you dig deeper, you'll strike an underground tunnel system that connects all of the Fenway campus's academic buildings — from the school's Snell Library all the way up Forsyth Street. "In the winter, it's great to not have to go outside," says former (official) Northeastern tour guide Lindsay Niegelberg, class of '06. "Plus, no one had to see me on a bad-hair day."

Maps dot the tunnel walls, which are color-coded, so getting lost isn't a real problem. Before checking them out for yourself, get primed with this cringe-inducing student video at

Niegelberg also points out another little-known campus destination: the school's NASA-sponsored lab, the Center for Advanced Microgravity Materials Processing (CAMMP) in the Egan Research Science Center on Huntington Avenue. Northeastern's CAMMP is one of only a dozen such NASA/university facilities in the US, and only astrophysics students and astronauts are allowed inside. "No one is allowed in there and there are a lot of rumors about what's really there," says Niegelberg. "There's supposed to be an antigravity chamber, and I always really wanted to sneak in there and see if I could experience zero gravity, but I never did get to."

A few random destinations
Brandeis University's Rose Art Museum not only displays great contemporary art, it may not be around much longer, thanks to the recession and declining donations. Think of it as a campus legend in the making.

The Ford Tower at Boston College's Bapst Library continues that theme. When BC ran out of money to complete library construction, a local Irish domestic servant gave over all of her savings to see the project completed. "Inside the tower is this beautiful, Gothic stone staircase that practically nobody knows about," says BC historian Thomas O'Connor.

The Coit Observatory — the domed pod on the roof of 725 Comm Ave at Boston University — was long ago relocated from BU's original Boylston Street digs. It's named for the school's first astronomy prof, Judson Coit, and it's open to the public for free star gazing through it's 14-inch reflector telescope on Wednesday evenings (weather — and hydrocarbon haze — permitting).

Julia Rappaport was last seen wandering around Harvard Yard looking for dinosaur tracks. She can be reached at

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