By Karina Cardella, Data Utility Analyst Intern
Whether or not to take the stairs or the elevator for me is always an ongoing struggle between my laziness and my desire to save energy and resources. Usually, my desire to save energy wins, and I take the stairs. And I am always glad I did. I am sure that many of you who bike or walk on campus instead of driving, use reusable water bottles instead of disposable ones, or make other personal valiant efforts to reduce their own environmental footprint, do these things everyday without even thinking twice about it. They know that the other option, taking the elevator, disposing of plastic water bottles or driving their car for an unneeded, superfluous reason are wasteful. However, there are many people who indeed do these things, especially taking the elevator, without even realizing what the impact of their actions has. It certainly has an impact on one building in particular: Ballantine Hall.
Many of you who attend class or have an office in the bustling halls of Ballantine may encounter a daily debacle: Stairs or elevator? Now technically, the elevators are only for grad students, faculty and professors, but many undergraduate students always sneak through the system and hop on the elevator anyway.
If you have ever been on the elevators in Ballantine Hall, you will know that the buttons to get onto the first three floors are locked and only professors and faculty who have a key can gain access to these floors via elevator. This is because the first three floors are where most of the lecture halls and classrooms are, and where most of the traffic in Ballantine hall goes. They lock these floors on the elevators so there wouldn’t be a line for the elevators so long it would take the duration of a class period to wait to get on them. Also it’s a terrible waste of energy.
This is why it frustrates me to see undergraduate students who think they are clever by hopping on the elevator get off on the fourth floor, and go down a flight of stairs to get to the third floor where there lecture or class is. It’s even worse when they have to go down two flights of stairs to get to the second floor. And if you’re riding the elevator from the ground floor to the fourth floor only to walk down three flights of stairs to get to the first floor you are downright lazy. I’ve seen it done too, and it is the epitome of wastefulness. Not only that, but the professors and faculty who actually need to ride to their elevator to get to their 8th floor office have to wait and cram on the elevator with undergrads.
Now, I am not saying that if your destination is on the 8th or 9th floor of Ballantine Hall that you shouldn’t take the elevator, because it is enough stairs to even make a marathon runner break a sweat. Rather, if your destination in Ballantine Hall is the fourth floor or below, to take the stairs to help control traffic and save energy. Even the professor and faculty really need to consider doing this. If we could get everyone to walk to the first through third floors instead of taking the elevator, I am sure that Ballantine Hall would save massive amounts of energy. And for those of you brave enough to trek to the 9th floor of Ballantine via the stairs in an effort to save energy (or at least counteract some of the energy wasted by those using the elevator to get to the 2nd or 3rd floors) I give you some serious kudos, and a towel to wipe the sweat off your brow.