There are tax-free days, where you can shop in your state without paying sales tax. At Bates, the closest thing is Opening Day — move-in time for the new students — when you can prop open any campus door without getting hit with a fine, as is the case during the school year.

The acceptable, no-penalty rationale for keeping doors open is to create easy passage for all the stuff that first-year students bring to campus.

Since Bates doors aren’t made to be propped, students have to be inventive on Propped Door Day — err, Opening Day. Here’s what we saw on Aug. 31, 2022 as we welcomed the Class of 2026:

First Chair

This doorstop gets points for multiple uses. Props a door and rest spot for a tired parent. But see how it lists to the side, as if it knows it’s not supposed to be there and is trying to flee the scene.

Getting hitched

No one at Page could say who decided to use this length of knitwear to prop open the door. But given that the knot appears to be a half-hitch, we’re hazarding a guess it’s either a Scout (boy or girl) or a sailor.

Stone alone

River stones are not a naturally occurring rock at Page Hall, where we saw this example, decorated with a face and the words, “I love me.”

Self-affirmations are important, especially during times of stress. That door weighs a lot.

Bucket brigade

Can’t say we liked seeing this portentous doorstop: It’s a pail of the stuff we’ll be needing soon, salt to melt winter ice.

From Maine Salt Co., the blend is called “Paws Applause,” unrelated to the Bates Bobcat but a reference to its pet- and eco-friendly blend of crushed limestone and magnesium chloride.

Mystery stop

The doors of Adam Hall were flung open for arriving families, including this parent taking the steps two at a time. There’s no temporary doorstop here but a traditional industrial door closer, perhaps a vintage model. (This campus is not haunted, promise.)

Stage right

Propping open an interior door at the 280 College Street residence, this slab of iron was both highly effective and a researcher’s delight. About a foot long and hefty, around 25 pounds, it has notches at either end.

So we asked the project managers at Facility Services. They’ve prowled every corner of the Bates campus in their work overseeing the construction of new buildings and the endless renovations and restorations of older buildings. We expect them to know it all, and they usually do.

“It’s an iron weight from the old theater rigging system in Schaeffer Theatre,” explained Paul Farnsworth. “They were counterweights that could be added and removed as needed to balance the weight of a scenery set hanging above the stage.”

Schaeffer’s rigging system, also known as a fly system, was replaced in 2007. “But even before that, the extra weights were used by theater for all kinds of things,” says Farnsworth. Since 2007, the weights “traveled on their own across campus.”


The best kind of door stop: a Bates student, David Nimura ’25 of New York City. In the fine Bates tradition, he’s holding the door at Kalperis Hall, home of the College Store, where he is a Junior Advisor.

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