Brock University: A school ruined by doors

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Brock has got a lot of things going on in an average day: the construction, the shorter-than-usual Tim Hortons line, people stopping to have conversations in completely impractical places. However, the thing that stands out to me, is that nobody ever seems to touch a door. It’s a strange observation, I know, but hear me out.

The entrance to the learning commons, around the corner from the stairs to market, has four working doors. Most people, however, only use one: the door that opens with an accessibility button on the inside of the library. The accessibility button on the other side is useless, because it opens the door furthest away and stuck between the rest of the doors and the makeshift wall put up to block off the construction site at the front of the school.

The library also has another entrance, the one that comes through the creepy concrete hallway full of posters telling us to come to Brock though we already feel claustrophobic enough without over-excited people from grape stomp visually screaming at us. There are only two doors at this spot, and another two on the other end, but only one of them on each side opens with a button. Everybody uses that door and it seems to be considered common courtesy at both ends of the hall to smack the button with your elbow on the way past. This way, even though the door is already open, nobody walking through behind you will ever have to feel the terror of the door suddenly starting to close as they try to figure out how to put their change from Tim Hortons away, carry their phone and coffee, and stop the door from smacking them in the face.

Location number three I can admit wholeheartedly that I am also guilty of. Coming into Plaza next to Union Station, I have often seen people walk straight past the stairwell and go around the corner to the next one. That second staircase is open to the air and requires no extraneous door touching in order to use it. The first, although both closer to the Plaza entrance and also to the Starbucks upstairs and the bridge across to Taro Hall, is ignored. Those poor stairs, they just sit there unused except for the few who are willing to brave pushing a door open in order to walk twenty fewer feet.

The phenomenon confuses me. Why doesn’t anyone want to touch doors? A number of reasons exist and some of them are actually useful for the Brock population.

The primary reason for avoiding doors is the  flu. It’s flu season and prime time for contracting the virus is right around the corner. Despite flu fears starting way back in 2017 as early as October, February is actually the month that you are most likely to get sick, according to the Center for Disease Control. By not ever touching doors if they can avoid it, the Brock population may be preventing themselves and others from catching it. One of the main things we are taught when it comes to flu prevention is, aside from getting a flu shot, to avoid touching door knobs.

Another reason to avoid doors is the cup of coffee in your hand. We’ve all got far too many things in our hands and the risk is too great. We’re all  trying to open a door, not drop anything, and not spill our coffee. I am not a juggler and I suspect that there is not a class to teach it at the school. I have seen far too many cups of coffee hit the floor as a result of students carrying too many things. Doors are just one more thing to get in the way.

The third reason is, obviously, accessibility. Not everybody is able to open the door without the button and the construction around the school has definitely caused some serious accessibility issues. Students may end up having to go halfway around the school in order to get where they’re going, and hallway congestion certainly does nothing to help that (I’m looking at you, awkward-place-for-a-conversation people). With only a few minutes between some classes, students could end up late for their next lecture. I secretly suspect that in the first three minutes of a lecture (which I for one have never been to) hold all the secrets to getting 100 per cent on the exam.

As the construction projects are completed around the school, things will begin to return to normal. Here’s to a door free 2018-19 school year! Maybe in the meantime we could get some door stops and prop those bad boys open.

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