I’m the kind of guy who hates stairs. I understand how they are necessary for our transportation, but I never have been able to get over how painfully slow and boring traversing them can be. My disdain for stairs has led to a natural appreciation of elevators, and over my two years at Trinity I have noticed a very wide range of the quality of the different elevators on campus. So, this weekend I went around campus and rode every elevator, yes every elevator, and took detailed notes of my experiences. I have compiled my findings here in a list of the best five and worst five elevators on campus. The list ranges from pleasant joyrides to the top of tall buildings, to journeys from hell that nearly resulted in my death.
The best five elevators on campus:
#5) The William H. Bell Athletic Center
If this elevator was useful in any way it would probably top the list. However, despite its uselessness, there is no doubting that the elevator in the Bell center is the most aesthetically pleasing elevator on campus. We have all seen it, and many of us have ridden it just for the experience. The spacious elevator comes decorated with clear see-through glass you can look through as you descend to the lower floors of the athletic center. However, despite its shine and gloss, there is no avoiding the fact that the Bell center elevator is basically useless. The elevator moves really slowly and is located right next to the main stairway, making it faster to simply not use the elevator.
#4) The Elizabeth Huth Coates Library
In contrast to the previous elevator, the library elevator has a pretty bad atmosphere but is ridiculously useful. The elevator is divided into two units which only serve four floors, which dramatically increases efficiency. The library elevators are a must use if you are journeying down to the lower floors, as they drop you off in a convenient and centralized location and save a lot of time that would be lost if you decided to take the stairs like a caveman.
#3) The DIckie Art/Smith Music Building
I had never set foot in the art building until this weekend when I was doing my research on the elevators, and I was impressed with this one! It’s got everything you look for in a good quality elevator. It’ s clean, the floor is tiled instead of carpeted, it displays what floor you are on, it is fast and most importantly, it is in a centralized location. Additionally, this elevator comes packing a secret set of rear doors that need some experimenting if you want to see what’s on the other side (hint: press the button that isn’t a number).
#2) Northrup Hall
I love this elevator so much, and I ride it every single weekday to and from class. It is probably the fastest elevator on campus. Even if you are riding from the ground floor to the very top of Northrup your journey won’t last more than a few seconds. Additionally, the elevator is spacious, clean and the ride is always smooth, making for an altogether pleasant experience. Even better, the elevator is divided into two units which guarantees almost instant service. Finally, the Northrup elevators also come with the added bonus of displaying what floor the units are on when you’re waiting on the ground level, so you can know exactly how much longer you will need to wait (and it’s never too long) and can position yourself in front of the proper unit upon its arrival. These elevators are the perfect solution to getting to class quickly when you are running late (which I usually am).
#1) Lightner Hall
The Lightner elevator is unquestionably the best elevator on campus. Lightner is one of the taller buildings, and this elevator guarantees that you don’t have to trudge up the many stairs it takes to reach its upper floors. The Lightner elevator is really fast. Its speed dramatically beats that of its twin neighbors in Thomas. The fascinating thing about the Lightner elevator is it has all the tendencies of some of the worst elevators on campus; it services a large building, it is in a residence hall and it has a carpeted floor. These three factors generally lead to an elevator being constantly dirty, smelly and broken. However, the Lightner elevator is mysteriously always clean and working. For all these reasons I award it position number one on my list.
The worst five elevators on campus:
#5) Verna McLean Hall
First off, this elevator is an eyesore. As a friend of mine described it, the inside “looks like a mental hospital.” If that weren’t bad enough, this elevator is notorious for deciding to randomly venture towards the first floor and remain open, preventing anyone on the upper floors from using it. However, what ultimately caused this elevator to be ranked as the fifth worst is the fact that the elevator is in a terrible location. McLean is one of the largest residence halls on campus, but its elevator is located in the most remote corner of the entire residence hall, making it impractical for all but a few residents to use. Additionally, the elevator doesn’t even serve the entire fourth floor, meaning some residents have no choice but to take the stairs every time they go to their room.
#4) Halsell Center
As if the walk to Halsel wasn’t long enough, its small elevator is extremely slow, which further lengthens the time of the poor computer science students commute. One interesting thing about this elevator is it is the only elevator on campus that has a mirror inside of it. I find it hilarious that the computer science building, the place on campus that probably sees the least female traffic out of any other location on campus, is the only building to put a mirror in its elevator. Nevertheless, this oddly placed mirror doesn’t help out this slow and small elevators case, because I’m pretty sure the majority of students who ride it could care less how their hair looks.
The two Thomas elevators are the bane of many students existence on campus. They are probably the most hated elevators on campus. They are slow, they smell awful, there is always something disgusting on the ground or on the walls and they constantly break down. The fact that Thomas is the tallest residence hall on campus at a whopping eight floors basically forces about half the residence hall to have no choice but to brave these painfully slow and extremely disgusting pieces of machinery that I’m not even sure deserve to be called elevators. When you have students who are willing to walk up five flights of stairs because they don’t want to ride the elevator, you know there must be a serious problem. I wonder if the recent addition of webcams will improve the quality of the elevators by discouraging people from vandalizing and trashing them. However, I am pretty doubtful of this, seeing as how one of the webcams was apparently destroyed by a mischievous student.
Never in my life had I smelled something as fowl as the Winn/Witt elevator. Upon stepping inside the elevator, I instantly felt my head go dizzy and my stomach lurch. It took every bit of willpower I possessed to not instantly jump off the elevator and run as fast away as I could. The elevator almost seems aware that its inner chambers are perhaps the worst-smelling location on campus, as it appears to taunt you by forcing you to wait several agonizing seconds after the door closes before it decides to start moving. In addition to the elevator smelling like a public restroom, it adds absolutely no benefit or convenience to any student living in Winn or Witt. That is because the elevator is located in an isolated corner of the building, away from nearly every room. There is no real reason to ever ride it. Even if there was, I think it’s safe to say most students would prefer to take the stairs than subject themselves to the putrid smell that lives inside of it.
#1) Storch Memorial Building
Yes, there is an elevator in Storch. I’d wager 95 percent of campus has no idea that one exists. That’s because all classes in Storch can be easily accessed by the main staircase in the lobby of the building. To even find this elevator you need to be looking for trouble, like I was. Before riding this one, I never thought an elevator could kill me. I was wrong. I’m pretty sure since there is no reason to ride this elevator unless you’re handicapped, maintenance hasn’t worked on it in years. Maybe even a decade. I think it’s safe to say I might have even been the first person to ride it this year. The first indication that there was seriously wrong with this elevator was when I pressed the button the call the elevator down to the ground floor. Instead of the arrow pointing up, like it normally does, the button had the arrow on it pointing sideways. No, the elevator doesn’t move horizontally, though that would be awesome. I feel like the sideways arrow is a warning, begging anyone considering riding this elevator to turn back and run for their lives. Unfortunately for me, I didn’t turn back. I got on and was in for a nightmare.
The inside of this elevator is really small. It’s clearly extremely old and definitely has never been renovated. The entire car is lit by a light bulb, which oddly enough can be turned off by a light switch on the button panel. Deciding it would be best to ride with the lights on; I pressed the button to take me to the top floor. Normally, when elevator doors close, the speed decreases as the door reaches the end of the elevator so that it neatly clicks in. Not this one. The Storch elevator door moves at the same speed across the entire entrance and slams into the edge of the elector with a huge crash that shakes the entire car. When this happened, I got the feeling that I had just been sealed in. It was at that moment that it dawned upon me that this elevator has some serious issues and that I probably shouldn’t be riding it. I stood in petrified silence for several seconds after the door closed before feeling the elevator rumble to life. As the car attempted to lift me up, the entire floor quaked angrily, knocking me from side to side. I had to grip onto the side of the wall to stop from falling over. The elevator screeched loudly, and had I not needed my hands to stabilize my balance, I would have covered my ears. I closed my eyes and prepared to feel the cables of the car snap, causing the car to plummet to my end. Luckily, the car made it safe to the top, though the journey scarred me for life. As the doors opened I looked down and saw the second floor of Storch about two feet below me. The elevator had overshot the floor! With the doors still open, the elevator leveled itself out, and I ran as far away as I could. I got off lucky, but one day soon I’m sure this elevator is going to break. If you’re daring enough, go ride the Storch elevator for yourself but turn the lights off!
Nick Allman is an intern for the Trinitonian.