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Door Holding Science—Door Handling 101

An Examination of the Science & Etiquette of Door Holding

Have you ever found yourself jogging to a door, thinking there's no way that person a few dozen yards in front of you was going to hold it, only to see them graciously grab the door, step to the side, and wait 20 seconds for you? DeSales University is putting a plan into action to ensure that you never have to fear the possibility of a door closing on you on our campus.
Door Holding Science: An examination of the science and etiquette of door holding.

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Holding the door is an important life
skill to master because you'll be using

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it throughout your everyday life. DeSales
University is proud to offer one

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of its newest required courses, Door
Holding Science. Students will learn the

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proper techniques for holding a door, the
mathematics and the physics involved

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with holding a door, as well as the
etiquette for how long you should hold a

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door open for somebody. We like to keep
our finger on the pulse of what our

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students would be interested in. Door
Holding Science provides the skill set

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our students need to be successful both
inside and outside of the classroom. I've

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spent my life attemping to hold
doors open, but never understood the

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proper way to do it. I'm really looking
forward to it and I can't wait to

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prepare for the future.

At DeSales, we have a proud history of humanism and kindness. We have long been known as a place where we hold doors open for each other, but is a campus tradition enough to get our students through the rest of their lives? As a community, we have made the decision to formally educate our students on the 'ins and outs' of door holding.

Starting in the Fall 2019 semester, Door Handling 101 will be a required course for incoming Freshmen and transfer students, and a free elective for current students.

In Door Handling 101, our students will learn the basic scientific and mathematical formulas to quickly compute in their heads when approaching a door holding situation. And, perhaps the more important portion of this course, students will work to define proper door holding etiquette, and learn about the historical ethics and significance of holding doors for others.

Our overall goal of presenting this class is to ensure that when our students go out into the world, they stop and hold the door open for somebody else on their way out.

Example Science and Math Aspects Learned

  • How much force do I need to exert when opening different sizes/types of doors?
  • At what angle and speed should I approach a door that is being held for me?
  • If a door is extremely heavy, what is the appropriate amount of time to hold the door before passing off the duties to another student? Is there an approximate Time-to-Weight ratio?

Example Ethics and Etiquette Aspects Learned

  • What is the appropriate distance someone should be for me to hold the door for them?
  • If I am wearing heels, do I need to run to the door? Or is it a situation where I wave off the door holder?
  • If I know the approaching person, but they are outside of the standard DHR (door holding range), should I wait longer just because I know them?
  • If I get to a door first, but my hands are full, do I make an attempt to hold the door for others, or do I stop short and hope the next person will jog up to take over the door holding position?

Chaos Theory

A portion of Door Holding Science is centered around the Chaos Theory. Chaos theory is a branch of mathematics that focuses on the uncontrollable behavior of dynamical systems that are highly sensitive to initial conditions. What happens when you hold the door open for somebody who decides to enter a different door? Or perhaps they aren’t even going into the same building/room as you. What if you’re that other person? Do you still thank the door holder? What is the “Butterfly Effect,’ and how does that come into play here?

Professor Holden Dorsey
Door holding is a bit of a first come, first serve situation. If I get there first, I serve you by holding the door open. It's very Salesian in nature, and aligns wonderfully with our University's mission.
Assistant Professor Holden Dorsey, MSDH April 1, 2019