The elevators in Ryerson’s Student Learning Centre often push our buttons: they take way too long to arrive and are always crowded.
Initially, I thought that it had something to do with how the SLC was built, and that little could be done to fix the issue. But it turns out the solution is simple. Ultimately, the inconvenience of the SLC elevator waiting times depends on how you choose to deal with them.
Abd-ur-Rehman Khawaja, a third-year occupational health and safety student, thinks that the elevator waiting times are noticeably long, but doesn’t consider them an overwhelming obstacle.
“I overheard some students saying that going into the elevators feels like rush hour on the subway, because you’re all crowded inside and then the elevator closes on you and you’d have to push in together,” Khawaja said.
Waiting minutes upon minutes for an elevator to arrive is frustrating. It’s even more frustrating when that same elevator fills up within seconds, leaving you to wait yet again for the next elevator. In retrospect, though, it isn’t a huge problem for the average able-bodied student.
“I think it mainly affects my patience. It doesn’t really affect my learning,” Khawaja said.
But for students with disabilities, like Matthew Vocino, a first-year sport media student, the impact of the crowded SLC elevators is much more significant.
“On numerous occasions I’ve waited 20 minutes [or more] for an elevator. These long wait times have even made me late for class a few times,” said Vocino.
What’s worse is when an elevator finally arrives, there usually isn’t enough space for Vocino and his wheelchair.
“If I’m already in an elevator, students are respectful that I need space so they won’t crowd in,” said Vocino. “However if I’m waiting for an elevator and there’s available space, some students won’t move around in the elevator to make room for me to drive in.”
To help alleviate this problem, students should take steps to avoid the elevator — literally.
SLC team members have set up an initiative encouraging students to take the stairs as a healthier alternative. There are messages written in chalk on each floor of the stairwell, which provide rough estimates of how many calories you’ve burned and phrases that lift your spirits.
My friend once groaned at one of the phrases on the SLC’s wall which read, “Keep calm and take the stairs.” Although a lot of the messages use cliché quips, they really do help distract me from my burning lungs as I climb the stairs.
“Not only is this the healthier option, it also reduces the building’s energy consumption and reduces the demand on our elevators, making them available more quickly for people who need them,” said Michael Forbes, manager of media relations at Ryerson.
It isn’t fun arriving at the top of the SLC, gasping for air after having taken the stairs, but there are ultimately more ups than downs to it. You get a quick workout, you reduce crowding and energy consumption, and you help make the SLC more accessible to students who need it.
Something as insignificant as elevator times shouldn’t affect the fact that the SLC provides an excellent space for students to work or to take a break, according to Khawaja.
“Waiting for the elevators is something trivial. You’re going to have to wait for an elevator anywhere regardless,” Khawaja said.
Before writing this, I often found myself leaving a crowded elevator, silently cursing the SLC as the doors closed. But now I realize that I’m at fault, too. So if you ever find yourself waiting far too long for the elevators, keep calm and take the stairs.
Featured image by Ankit Singh