Bathrooms: The cornerstone of Penn State. Every day, hundreds of thousands of students run to the many restrooms dotted around campus in search of relief.
And yet, no two toilets are the same. Every Penn State cubicle, toilet, sink, and towel dispenser is built and placed differently in its own way.
As such, some latrines stand out from others in these aspects.
Now is the time for a showdown for the ages: which throne room floats atop?
Bathrooms in this blog are rated on a scale of 5. Cleanliness will count for 2 points, privacy for another 2 points, and overall comfort for 1 point.
Keep in mind that almost all of these reviews are for the male rooms at each location. Any attempt to investigate and photograph the women’s restroom would likely have endangered my life and my status as a student.
Moreover, if the acoustics are not noted, they will be taken into account for several partitions. Hearing other visitors at work can be fun on rare occasions, but most of the time it makes visiting the bathroom awkward.
HUB-Robeson Centre: third floor
The HUB is a building that undeniably sees high student traffic every day, and students come to eat, study, and hang out for hours at a time.
As a result, it’s not hard to imagine its bathrooms would be particularly awful.
Fortunately, there is an oasis in this bustling building: the third floor.
Veteran Ayden readers will remember that the HUB’s third-floor bathroom made my Halloween list one of the “scariest places on campus.”
While that headline is still true, it surprisingly turned out to be a plus.
The eerily quiet and secluded location of this particular powder room makes it the perfect retreat from the hustle and bustle of the lower floors.
Plus, its low traffic means it’s generally clean (save for an often overflowing trash can), and the din of a fan dampens noise from nearby stalls.
While privacy isn’t much of an issue due to how easily the legs can be seen under the cubicle walls, some may find the relatively large gaps in the cubicle doors to be an issue.
As a result, the HUB’s third floor scores a 1.5 for cleanliness, a 1.5 for privacy, and a full point for overall comfort. Four out of 5 toilet paper rolls.
Pattee and Paterno Library: Commons Collaboration
Another pair of patrons tucked away in plain sight in one of Penn State’s busiest buildings, these bathrooms are tucked away on the main floor of the library, in front of the Collaboration Commons reception desk.
This bathroom is home to one of the most wonderful inventions of the modern age: gapless cubicle doors.
This is because these stalls have pieces of metal attached to the stall door that prevent prying eyes from peeking into your private parts.
Add to that feature the fact that the bathroom is generally clean, well-lit, and generally not too busy, and this bathroom gets a 5 out of 5.
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Henderson building: Ground floor
The dark horse’s first competitor in this contest for the best can, the best bathroom in the Henderson building is hidden on the ground floor.
Initially, this toilet seemed like a recipe for disaster. The ground floor looks quite old, and the wooden door to the men’s restroom looks like it was ripped out of a 1960s classroom (with frosted glass that allows passers-by to peek inside).
However, these toilets come with a twist (or rather, a turn).
Unlike other restrooms, this restroom is built in an L-shape, which means the urinals and stalls are tucked away in a corner of the hallway.
The negatives of this bathroom would be the toilet seat, which could only be described as “narrow” (do what you want with it) and the fact that it’s quiet enough to hear a drop fly (and therefore quiet enough to hear other things drop out).
Overall, this bathroom gets a 2 for cleanliness, a 1 for privacy, and a half point for comfort.
This bathroom gets 3.5 out of 5 toilet paper rolls.
All bathrooms in the Huck Life Sciences Building
What list of on-campus bathrooms would be complete without including one of Penn State’s (very modern and well-funded) science buildings?
Yes, the Huck Life Sciences Building maintains a regular set of solid restrooms on almost every floor.
Each washroom is easy to find, as they are right next to the elevators on each floor, and all are clean and quiet.
In addition, black toilet seats are an interesting aesthetic choice.
Some negatives unfortunately include larger gaps between stall doors and frames.
This, coupled with the fact that the cubicles are located directly opposite the sink mirrors, means there is a risk of unwanted eye contact while working or cleaning.
Huck bathrooms score a 2 for cleanliness, a 1 for privacy, and a 1 for comfort. Four out of 5 toilet paper rolls.
Oswald tower: third floor
The last dark horse in this competition for the perfect bathroom: the Oswald tower. It houses some of the best restrooms for Penn Staters brave enough to enter its premises.
Indeed, the hardest part of using this restroom is not being scared off by the rickety old elevator or the claustrophobic hallways that lack windows.
All 10 floors of the Oswald Tower have one bathroom, alternating genders on each floor except for the third and eighth floors, which are unisex.
Indeed, the single bathroom on the third floor makes this list because of its lockable door.
In addition, the particularities of the third floor add to the charm. Although this is a one person bathroom, it has two sinks and the hallway smells like a Subway store.
While this toilet isn’t the cleanest I’ve seen on my travels, its positives more than outweigh its shortcomings.
The only other downside would be its remoteness, but this isn’t a list of “Penn State’s most convenient restrooms” so its location still stands.
So Oswald’s third floor gets a 1 for cleanliness, 2 for privacy, and 1 for comfort. Still 4 out of 5 rolls of toilet paper.
Judging bathrooms is a messy and imprecise affair. It involves a lot of racing and getting your hands dirty to really compile a list of the best.
This list may not be definitive, but it should make for interesting trips around campus to discover a few secluded spots, with the added reward of a comfortable and private visit to the bathroom.
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