April Fools Edition | Pitt to change Pete escalators into a giant slide


John Blair | Senior Staff Photographer

The glass of the Petersen Events Center in Oakland will soon be smashed to install a giant yellow slide.

By Ryleigh Lord, Staff Writer

Students will be sliding down from upper campus with the new changes planned for the Petersen Events Center — literally.

Liza Broydo, a first-year neuroscience major and Sutherland Hall resident, said she’s thrilled to hear about Pitt’s decision to remove the escalators in the Pete and replace them with a giant slide.

“The great thing about a slide is it’s never going to be broken,” Broydo said. “Sure, there might be pile-ups at the bottom, but overall I think it’s going to be a positive change.”

Formal blueprint for the giant yellow slide coming soon to the Petersen Events Center in Oakland.
(John Blair | Senior Staff Photographer)

In response to a barrage of student complaints on Yik Yak about the inconsistency of the Pete’s escalators, the University announced Friday that it decided to completely get rid of the escalators and replace them with a giant slide. Pitt estimates that the preparations, which include a bright yellow slide that can accommodate three people holding hands, will be finished by fall 2022. University officials estimate that it will take about 12 seconds to travel down the slide, drastically reducing the commute time for upper campus students.

Hannah Flanagan, a first-year nursing major, said she admires this out-of-the box decision.

“Some people might say that the obvious solution to this all would be to put enough money into infrastructure to ensure the escalators are dependable and accessible, but I think that’s boring,” Flanagan said. “When my legs are sore from the gym, the last thing I want to see is a broken escalator. For some reason, walking down a broken one is so much more humiliating than walking down regular steps.”

Some upper campus students said they appreciate that the University is addressing their concerns. Sanjna Ramesh, a first-year emergency medicine major, said the slide improves her daily commute to lower campus.

“With all the construction going on outside Sutherland, it’s nice for the University to give us something to look forward to,” Ramesh said. “I mean, sure, the dorm is barely accessible and every day there’s a new route for us to walk, but at least sliding down the Pete will shave a few minutes off my trek to class.”

Ramesh said the slide will be a good way to encourage prospective students to live in Sutherland Hall and current students to live in Panther or Irvis Halls.

“Some people might ask why they’d choose to live so far removed from every aspect of campus life, but now we have a slide,” Ramesh said. “When people ask me about the shuttles and time it takes to get to 8 a.m. classes, all I need to say is that we have a giant slide now.”

Broydo said she’s looking forward to racing with her friends to class.

“The shuttles might leave you stranded in the rain for 45 minutes and the walk to upper campus might leave you feeling physically and mentally exhausted, but imagine how fun it will be to race your friends down the giant slide,” Broydo said. “Really, we’re the winners here.”

Ramesh said she doesn’t know what the University will do about accommodating students who need to go back up to Sutherland, but she hopes it’s something as entertaining as the slide.

“Like most things on campus, I guess we’ll deal with it when we get there,” Ramesh said. “The plan for the construction around the Pete has seemingly been to figure it out day-by-day, but I heard rumors of a rock-climbing wall being put in to go up.”

Flanagan said she hopes the University will install a rock-climbing wall for the escalator going up in the Pete.

“The escalator going up isn’t reliable anyways, so it’ll be nice to know what I’m walking into each time I go to the Pete,” Flanagan said. “Plus, everyone’s usually in a huff after walking up the hill. The rock-climbing wall will be a great way to let off some steam.”

However, Ramesh is concerned about accessing Chick-fil-A inside the Pete.

“Will there be a break in the slide to get to Chick-fil-A?” Ramesh asked. “I can deal with construction adding 10 minutes to my walk and even a broken escalator, but I draw the line at Chick-fil-A being inaccessible.”

Broydo said this change is a sign that University administration is listening to students’ concerns and is using innovative ideas to improve campus life.

“They heard that we were upset by something and went out of their way to change it,” Broydo said. “Pitt is such a great school for STEM majors, and I think we really need to see more of this kind of creativity going forward. I really admire the level of attention they’re giving us, even if my first thought would have been to just fix the escalators.”