Photo by Joey Bui/The Gazelle

Creative Solutions for Handling Sama Tower Doorknobs

The problem of slippery doorknobs is often overlooked in Sama Tower. But many students have struggled with this common grievance, sometimes resulting ...

Mar 10, 2014

Photo by Joey Bui/The Gazelle
The problem of slippery doorknobs is often overlooked in Sama Tower. But many students have struggled with this common grievance, sometimes resulting in creative solutions.
“The doorknob has been a huge hassle since the beginning of my first year,” sophomore Keeryung Kim said. “It never worked, especially when I was tired or in a rush.”
The difficulty of the doorknob is threefold, according to engineering student and freshman Rodrigo Ceballos.
“The metal is a slippery surface, the circular shape is difficult to manoeuvre and the doors are heavy,” he said.
Freshman Krishan Mistry is still unable to open doors in Sama without aid, a problem for which he is widely recognized among classmates.
“People know that I’m about to enter their room because they hear someone fumbling with the doorknob and then meekly crying, ‘You guys know I can’t open this,’” he said.
Sophomore Keeryung Kim finally decided to take initiative.
“When I had to call Sama security to open the door for the third time in one semester, I decided to make a door handle,” she said.
Kim fashioned a handle by attaching a hair roller to the original doorknob. The hair roller is tied to the doorknob with an IKEA bag strap, and further secured with hot glue.
“I’m happy with it because now I can get into my room in two seconds,” she said. For students wanting to adopt her doorknob solution, Kim advised, “you’ll want to cover the original doorknob with tape first to prevent damage.”
Freshman Clara Correia was inspired by Kim’s idea of attaching a handle to the doorknob. However, she did not think that the same materials were necessary.
“I used my creativity and whatever I had available,” she said. Correia made a door handle by using a deodorant container attached to the original doorknob with tape and string.
Of this solution to the pre-existing handle, Correia said, “it’s not the best, but it’s definitely better.”
Despite the success of these creative alternatives, more students use the simple solution of wrapping the doorknob in duct tape, which Ceballos described as useful because it provides good grip. He used duct tape not only for his own room, but also wrapped duct tape around a friend’s doorknob on one occasion.
“I was coming back from the gym and my hands were sweaty,” he said, “So I couldn’t open the door at all. I was so frustrated that I came back with duct tape.”
Not all students are bothered by the doorknob, however. In response to complaints about the Sama Tower doorknobs, Kahn maintains that they are a nonissue.
“They’re not so outrageously hard to open, are they?” junior Amelia Kahn said. “I guess it could be a product of rushed building, but I wouldn’t call it defective.”
As a member of the first cohort of students to live in Sama Tower, Kahn recalled that the construction was hurried and there were many problems much worse than circular doorknobs with difficult grips.
“The plumbing was a mess,” Kahn said. “There used to be backups all the time and the 6th floor used to smell like sewage for weeks at a time. And one time water just started pouring out of my ceiling.”
In light of plumbing defects and leaking ceilings, Kahn is not especially concerned about the doorknobs.
She concluded, “I don’t even want to think of all the things that might be wrong with Sama.”
Joey Bui is an editor-at-large. Email her at
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