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10 Easy Ways To: Avoid Taking the Million Dollar Stairs

Have you ever noticed how almost every college campus is quaintly situated on a hill?   At BC, our lovely hill makes for a beautiful view of lower campus when you are camped out on the fifth floor of O’Neill during midterms and finals.  If it wasn’t for our hill, Gasson would not be a permanent fixture of the night sky and we wouldn’t be able to see all the way into downtown Boston on a clear, cloudless night.

My one complaint, and I am sure many of you share this with me, is the sheer number of stairs that I’m required to take everyday when I walk to class from lower campus.  With a loaded backpack, cold wind blowing in my face, and a lack of caffeine, I am in no way ready to exert any effort, especially at 8 am.  Honestly, I would prefer to save my stair climbing for the Plex, where it’s okay to be sweaty and out of breath.  Because of this, I am here to give you ten ways to avoid taking the Million Dollar Stairs, or to at least make the trip a little more enjoyable.

1.   Take the Hillside elevators
This is everybody’s go-to, especially during the winter months when the weather outside is unbearable.  Take the elevator up to the 4th floor of Maloney and then you have two options– buck it up and take the stairs in O’Neill or sneak through the basement of O’Neill and take yet another elevator.  It’s your pick and you will safely make it to upper without breaking a sweat.

2.  Parking garage elevators
If the line for the elevators in Hillside is going to make you late for class, definitely try taking the elevators located in the parking garage.  These are often overlooked and they will take you all the way to upper– no stops or unwanted stairs will be encountered on the way.

3.  Walk up Comm Ave
If you live near Commonwealth Avenue, why not just walk on the sidewalk up to main gate?  All you Collegiettes™ living in 66, 90, Voute, and Gabelli are lucky enough to be close to a stair-less route.  It may take a few minutes longer, but hey, it will be totally worth it!

4.  Walk up Beacon Street
This route definitely is a little longer, but I wanted to lay out all of the options.  Cut behind Conte and either make your way to Beacon or continue to walk up towards Merkert while staying on campus.  If you decide to take the Merkert route, you will hit a few stairs, but it’s nothing in comparison to the dreaded Million Dollar Stairs.

5.  Take the bus
Normally I save this option for the extremely cold or snowy winter days, but if there happens to be a bus sitting at Conte Forum, why not hop right on?  In just a few minutes you’ll be at Mac, all while comfortably sitting on a warm bus.

6.  Piggy-back it up
Do you have a friend that is exceptionally strong?  Maybe one who wants some extra exercise?  Hop on someone’s back for a nice, friendly piggyback ride and make them take you all the way to the top.  So what if it looks goofy?  All that matters is that you will be avoiding those dreaded stairs.

7.  Fake an injury and call Eagle Transport
So maybe this isn’t the most ethical thing to do, but it is an option.  Injured students who can’t comfortably walk to class can call Eagle Transport for a ride.  They will pick you up from your dorm and drive you as close to your class as is possible.

If you must take the stairs:

8.  Break up the climb with a phone call
We all know of the landing halfway up the Million Dollar Stairs.  In fact, we all longingly stare at it as we march up all 120 steps, wishing that we could stop and take a breather.  Well, now you can.  Make it to the landing and reward yourself by pretending to take a phone call.  This will buy you some time to regain your breath and your composure before finishing up the stairs.

9.  Hydrate, stretch, put on some motivational tunes, and don’t look up– you’ll be to the top in no time
If you absolutely cannot avoid taking the Million Dollar Stairs, then you are going to need to properly condition for the journey.  Walking to class is no joke.  Maybe run some pre-stair laps to get that blood flowing!

10.  Petition the installation of a gondola from Lower to Upper
This is clearly the most realistic option, right?  What could be more convenient than riding in a classy Gondola from Lower to Upper?  Not only would it be relaxing, but just imagine the view of Boston that BC could boast about!


Next time those horrific Million Dollar Stairs are taunting you, just look at this list to find another option.  While some of these suggestions might be a little ridiculous, there is always an effective way to avoid that 120-step climb or to just make the trip a little more enjoyable.

I will leave you with a quick, fun fact: the “Million Dollar Stairs” are so called because of a campus legend stating that the stairs are internally heated, at a cost of a million dollars, in order to melt snow in the winter.  This is clearly a myth, but Million Dollar Stairs is much catchier than the staircase’s real name, “The Higgins Stairs.”  The real question is, what are those stairs by Ignacio called?

Photo Sources:
Remy Hassett

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Kelsey Damassa is in her senior year at Boston College, majoring in Communications and English. She is a native of Connecticut and frequents New York City like it is her job. On campus, she is the Campus Correspondent for the Boston College branch of Her Campus. She also teaches group fitness classes at the campus gym (both Spinning and Pump It Up!) and is an avid runner. She has run five half-marathons as well as the Boston Marathon. In her free time, Kelsey loves to bake (cupcakes anyone?), watch Disney movies, exercise, read any kind of novel with a Starbucks latte in hand, and watch endless episodes of "Friends" or "30 Rock."
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