By Kirsten Mahon/tr news editor
There’s one thing a cell phone and an elevator have in common: the ironic lack of connectivity between the people that use them.
“There is an ever-enlarging black cloud casting a shadow over my movements from class to class,” said Connie Alling, a TR Campus student.
Alling wrote an 800-word proposal to the Student Government Association urging them to find a way to implement awareness and respect when using elevators and hallways on TR Campus.
“The black cloud is the swelling absence of appropriate stairway and elevator etiquette,” she said.
Alling is not the only one to notice the trend around campus. Other students and faculty members as well have spoken up about the issue. Cheryl Law, TR speech instructor, has had bad experiences with students in transit around the campus.
“They didn’t let us get off,” she said. “They just pushed us to the side, and I heard somebody say, ‘You guys are supposed to wait and let us … get out!’ It didn’t seem to matter. There was no respect and basically no understanding of basically what’s right and what’s ethical.”
Students may be worried about getting to class on time, but it is hard to tell because normally most students are looking down at a tiny screen in their hands.
“We’ve become that society where you don’t interact in person. You interact on screens,” said Stephanie Blakely, TR coordinator of the discovery center for student success, who has a background in sociology.
The root of the issue isn’t a lack of manners or any one person deliberately being rude, Blakely said. It is a lack of awareness.
There are two reasons for this, she said. The first is the lack of training available to schoolchildren during their years of learning how to share or even as teenagers learning how to drive. Not a lot of schools are equipped with elevators, especially in the Metroplex, Blakely said. The second is the idea that students are simply self-absorbed.
“I’m going to class, and I’m thinking about this and I’m thinking about that, so busy in our brains,” she said.
“It’s just a horrible experience,” Alling said. “We are dealing with a generation who has been taught that electronics are more important, and it devalues human interaction.”
In her proposal, Alling wrote: “A daily occurrence in a student’s life is being forced into a game of chicken on the stairways. It is rude and discourteous to walk and text, or read and walk at the same time, when walking up or down the stairs.
“Can those hours in a virtual world help us engage in real life?” she said.
Jedidiah Beck, vice president of the Signum Lingua club on TR Campus, has noticed the problem too.
“When you allow people too many outlets or too many methods for social expression, it can cause us to become isolated,” he said. “And that is what breeds an air of apathy.”
Beck also has noticed a lack of consideration exchanged between students while on their way to different parts of the campus. He believes that though he may be in a hurry, he does his best not to get in others’ way while switching classes because everyone has the same 24 hours in a day.
“It’s easy to blame other people, but that continually puts a distance between us and someone else,” he said.
Blakely said one student in a wheelchair had to wait in the elevator for two cycles of students before people would give him the time to exit on the correct floor.
“Everybody swarms, you know. Class just got out, so everybody swarms, and he waited for two rides,” she said. “It wasn’t that anybody was being mean. It’s just that they were all so absorbed with what’s in their hand or heads that nobody even thought about it.”
The student said this happens all the time.
“He wasn’t even upset about it,” she said.
“Some students must think,” Alling wrote in her proposal, “that the designers of [this building] had only one person in mind when they designed the stairways — it was [that person] and them alone.”