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Campus escalators go eco-green

by Laura Nightstand April 1, 2015
Campus escalators go eco-green

Concordia opts to save electricity, and the planet in one fell swoop

Concordia’s newest green initiative, dubbed “Step Up for Earth,” was implemented without pomp, circumstance or even warning—and has riled up all sides of the environmental science debate.

As described by the university’s official Sustainability Hub page, part of Concordia’s mandate was adapted to include “saving electricity to minimize the university’s ecological footprint” and “promoting green transportation and healthy living through alternatives such as walking, taking the stairs, and if students are feeling particularly rowdy, proceeding to jog up said stairs.”

To reach this end, Concordia has decided that—for the sake of the planet, and completely unrelated to the crumbling infrastructure of the Hall building—effective immediately, all of the campus’ escalators have been converted into traditional “eco-green” staircases.

I, for one, compliment the university administration for taking the next step in making Concordia an environmentally-conscious institution. Frankly, the escalators were an unnecessary expense—and the new stairs have such a futuristic look that gives our campus a real cutting-edge style. The chrome steps, coupled with the rubber hand-railing, is truly avant-garde; plus, the narrow one-lane design is minimalist and effective. With two of these staircases connecting each floor, we can even cut down on unnecessary traffic by dedicating one to going up, and the other going down.

It’s a change many in the student body have been hoping for.

“We began to really get excited when we saw them randomly stopping and starting the escalators on a daily basis,” said CSU VP for Sustainability April Fowles. “Tests like that really sent the message that they meant business. If that wasn’t real commitment to improving the way our campus runs, I don’t know what is.”

Other campus organizations have added their support to the initiative, including the Engineering and Computer Science Association (ECA). “It’s just absolutely mind-boggling how they managed to pull this off,” said Michael Poisson, an Undergraduate Engineering student. “They got the escalators out and the stairs in instantaneously. It’s like they switched them with the push of a button. I can’t wrap my head around it.”

In addition to being “green,” the move will also be better for the university financially.

“I admit that there were some up-front costs,” said Mark Folley, Chief Financial Officer for Concordia University. “I mean, we had to send a guy to all the floors—it was a mess. But now we’re saving significant moolah on electricity every day. It was a tough pill to swallow, but it’s going to be better for us long-term.”

A certain university president, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, echoed the sentiment. “Did you see how much got slashed from our budget? Austerity’s killing us over here,” he said, claiming his third free People’s Potato lunch of the week. “Besides, the longer it takes those protesters to get up to my floor, the better.”

Obviously, the venture isn’t perfect (we’ve all heard of art installations abandoned on ground floor of EV by work-shy Fine Arts students). But these are simply growing pains, temporary aches and bruises as we move towards a cleaner, more sustainable future for our university. It is our duty as the next generation to support environmentally-friendly solutions wherever we can find them.

For those of you who are particularly socially conscious and wish to support local co-ops as well, The Hive now offers free water bottle refills, oxygen masks and climbing gear for those foolhardy enough to attempt to reach a class scheduled on the 12th floor.

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