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Behind the scenes: CSULB’s infamous shortcut

There is something of a tradition at Long Beach State that students and staff unknowingly are a part of.

Located past the dandelion-shaped water fountains, near the “Go Beach” sign is a granite wall and a three-foot gap that students walk through. Its narrow opening, however, can be tricky and difficult to maneuver.  

Only one student is able to fit through the gap at a time, and that fact tends to cause traffic. Sometimes, the traffic causes a line 11 students deep, and the only alternative is to go around the long way.

Michael Gardner, director of campus planning and sustainability, said the gap wasn’t predicted to be a passageway that thousands of students take daily. It was designed for architectural reasons and it was originally planned for students to go around the pillars. 

“It’s an amazing thing…no one could have planned that this narrow gap, could become a passageway for thousands of students daily,” Gardner said. “That’s Beach culture.” 

Gardner said that despite it not being intended to be a passageway, the gap is so ingrained in CSULB culture that the school couldn’t bear to remove it.

The University Student Union was built in 1972, but the gap itself was constructed in the early ‘90s. Currently, the USU is home to many campus organizations, including Associated Students Inc.

“From time to time I use the gap,” said James Ahumada, the ASI senior communications manager. “It’s just a second faster.”

Ahumada said that it is interesting that students often wait in line to go through the gap, despite the wait negating the extra seconds the gap saves people.

“I think it’s funny that the gap has gotten such a personality,” Ahumada said.

The gap developed a fan page of sorts in 2013. It has a Facebook page called “CSULB Crevice,” with 172 followers and 174 likes.

“Sometimes the line to walk through the crevice is longer than a Disneyland ride, but it’s worth it every time,” CSULB alumna Amy Sohn posted on the page. “Sometimes I think it would have been faster to just walk around.”

A blurred figure makes their way through a gap between walls.
Students wait in line to walk through the small opening at the beginning of the USU. Austin Brumblay/ Daily Forty-Niner

The creator of the page even suggested that the gap be honored.

I say that we petition to get a plaque to commemorate the glory that is the crevice,” the creator posted.

It’s been such a long-lasting tradition that CSULB official website posted about it in an article detailing 18 things CSULB students should try before graduating. 

“Shoot the gap. You know the place, that narrow opening at the end of the USU walkway. Just don’t bump into anyone,” the article stated.

A census was conducted a few years back to ask students for their input on the gap to see if they wanted to remove the narrow gap or leave it be. 

“It was voted by the students to keep this relic of CSULB culture,” Gardner said.

The census was distributed to students and faculty that year to decide the action for future CSULB students. No regard was given to any future students if they wanted the gap.  

“I like going through it when nobody there but if it’s crowded I’ll go around because I know there’s another way that’s less crowded,” said Michelle Duenas, a third-year health science major.

However, some people avoid the gap and don’t understand the appeal of the popular passageway.

“It depends, but I don’t like walking through it preferably,” said Art Medina, Educational Opportunity Program advisor of access and retention.

No matter the opinion on the gap, it’s here to stay for a long time to save the CSULB population an extra second or two during their trek across campus.

This article previously reported inaccurate information, the mistake was corrected on Sept. 16 at 2:13 p.m.


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  2. Avatar
    Jennifer Newton

    I’d always use the gap in 2000 as a student; and I still use it today as a professor. Definitely as much a part of Beach Culture as the awkward pool. 🙂

  3. Avatar

    Definitely been through this gap lol. Great, fun article. I miss CSULB and Long Beach.

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