Theme IX, Games: Elevator Etiquette

By Hae Bin Kim

“Take the stairs next time, bitch!”

Well, I sure did, after that incident. At Founders Hall, there is something called “Elevator Etiquette.” It’s not just an urban rumor or some vague phrase; it’s a legitimate tenet that the dorm encourages its residents to follow. The Elevator Etiquette is the fundamental rule that if you are able to, you must walk up or down one flight of stairs if the button above or below your floor is already pressed. Apparently, this will save lots of time and energy for everyone.


The Elevator Etiquette is almost like a mandatory ritual at Founders. The social pressure that comes from a single elevator ride is immense. As soon as someone hits that 9th floor and you live on the 8th floor, you are immediately obliged to walk down one set of stairs. The residents who are hit the hardest by this are the ones who live on the lower floors, especially the 2nd floor people. If one of them ignores this rule and decides to just press the 2nd floor while on ground level, then they will receive a great deal of eyeing and mutterings of curses under breath.

Once, I had a whole ton of items to carry down to the laundry room located on the second floor. When I got on the elevator, I realized that the first floor was already pressed and there were 5 other people on the elevator. Despite the fact that the elevator etiquette was applicable, I decided to press on the 2nd floor button anyway because of my heavy laundry loads. As soon as i got off and the elevator door started to close, some asshole on the elevator yelled: “Take the stairs next time, bitch!” Well, that was harsh.

But do we really do this in other places other than our dorm? Nowhere else does this rule exist — not in apartments, not in department stores, not in offices. Anywhere else, except NYU dorms, is free from this Elevator Etiquette. It just does not make sense to apply this rule at this dorm. Everyone pays the exact same amount of housing fee at this dormitory. This guarantees us equal access to all of the facilities like the lounges, courtyard, and rooms. This means that we have equal access to the elevators at anytime and under any circumstances. Nobody should have the right to force us to walk up the long stairs after a strenuous day full of lectures and exams.

Next time someone says, “take the stairs,” I will say one thing: “I don’t need to.” Surely I will be willing to take the stairs once in a while, but I am not required to every time. I can take the stairs and I can take the elevator to any floor at my own leisure. This Elevator Etiquette can certainly be encouraged but should not be so socially mandated.


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