Fredericton — St. Thomas University is proposing a new project that would see a 2-kilometre chairlift be built from Queen Square downtown and extend all the way up to George Martin Hall on campus. The university presented the project in response to declining rates of enrollment and class attendance.
President Dawn Russell believes one of the factors pertaining to the decrease is the difficulty students face as they climb the hill each morning. “The only logical reason I can come up with is that these kids simply aren’t able to make the steep trek up to STU, especially when winter weather comes around. We’re essentially asking these kids to climb Mount Everest every morning,” she said. “Not to mention many of the students like to party during weeknights; we’re putting them in danger by subjecting them to such physical strain when they’re hungover.”
The chairlift is gaining strong support among the students, especially after last year’s harsh winter, which saw 3 students perish during their uphill walk to class. Fourth-year student Amanda Robbins is still mourning the loss of her roommate, Kristin Freeze, who was one of the victims of “The Hill.”
“One particularly stormy morning she just didn’t show up to class. I tried calling her but there was no answer,” Robbins said. “I feared the worst.” Freeze was later found frozen in a snowbank on Windsor Street, The Hill’s 3rd victim in 4 months.
“Her death could have been avoided,” Robbins added. “We need new measures to keep people safe from the dangerous conditions they face just trying to get to class. We couldn’t even recover her remains until April because of how dangerous the ascent is mid-winter.”
The chairlift would safely carry 3 students at a time from the bottom of the hill directly to STU campus. St. Thomas officials estimate this will not only increase class attendance, but will also save countless lives.