As she was walking to class, freshman Marleigh Ausbrooks did something pretty normal for any GDS student: she took an elevator. She piled in with a few fellow students and headed up to the third floor. Ausbrooks recalls the scene: “the crowd started to get on the elevator and a few people decided to just take the stairs. I decided to cram in with another girl from my French class.”
As the elevator began to move, Ausbrooks immediately sensed that something was wrong. “As soon as we got on the elevator seemed to start to move but very slowly,” she said. “We realized we actually were stuck. We rang the emergency bell for around a minute until someone heard us. Another one of the upperclassmen started talking to the person outside.”
As Ausbrooks recalled, over twenty people were inside the elevator at the time of the failure, which would exceed its capacity limits. The students in the elevator waited for almost 30 minutes for help to arrive, and, as one would expect, conditions deteriorated: “It started to become pretty hot in the elevator and everyone was uncomfortable.”
Although mechanics eventually freed Ausbrooks and the other students trapped in the elevator, the infamous incident still lives on. “I wouldn’t ride in that particular elevator for a couple weeks,” Ausbrooks said. After leaving the elevator, the students were over 30 minutes late to class, which disrupted the day for many.
Even after the harrowing experience that Ausbrooks endured, GDS is still encountering elevator problems. Several weeks after the first failure, the other GDS elevator was put out of service for about two days. While the issue is not necessarily chronic, many students recognize that there is a problem and think that their peers should be more cognizant of how they get around campus. Freshman Daniel Goldblatt thinks that “students should try to not use the elevator if they are only going up or down one or two flights, assuming they’re not injured or have a physical disability.”
After the breakdowns, elevators became a hot-button topic. Goldblatt attributes the chatter to the rarity of these events at other institutions. “I rarely hear about elevators getting stuck, so that they have gotten stuck in multiple occasions at GDS makes them commonly talked about,” he said.
Still, it seems that despite repeated disruptions, elevators will remain a popular way to get around GDS. Whether for physical reasons or just for the sheer distance people would have to travel otherwise, it will take a lot to truly turn heads about the devices we use every day to move about.
By Harrison Lundy ’21