According to documents obtained from a public record request, Davis Library had 19 entrapments between the start of the fall 2012 semester and the end of the fall 2013 semester.
VanZomeren managed to remain calm and provide some comic relief.
Using the hashtag "#SaveRussell2014” in his live-tweets, he shared his reaction to being trapped and his plans for being stuck longer than he was.
The Chapel Hill Fire Department ultimately rescued VanZomeren from the elevator.
He said he will not hesitate to go to the upper floors of Davis even after his difficult experience.
“If anything, I’m closer with Davis now,” he said. “They had a real sense of humor about it, too.”
Associate Director of Housing and Residential Education Rick Bradley said elevator entrapments are more likely to happen in higher volume elevators.
“That’s not an uncommon occurrence in elevators that received high usage,” Bradley said.
“Oftentimes the doors won’t open for a period of time and either an elevator technician or, in this case, the fire department responds and can open the doors.”
Junior Michael Porson was later trapped for an hour and a half in the same elevator in Davis Library on Tuesday, but he found the experience far less amusing.
“I’m claustrophobic and afraid of heights and they took forever to get me out of there,” Porson said. “All I could think about was the fact that I was suspended up eight floors and I didn’t know what was wrong with the elevator.”
Porson said he is upset because he later found out if he had said at the beginning that he was not okay, then he could have been rescued quicker.
“I’m in the process now of seeing what can be done ... so that it doesn’t take an hour and a half to get an electrician there,” he said.
Facilities Services Supervisor Donnie Apple said there are approximately 350 elevators around campus and only five elevator mechanics.
Freshman Brandon Hill said Ehringhaus Residence Hall elevators are strange because the doors open before the elevator has fully reached the floor it is headed to.
Graduate student Chase La Rue, an office assistant in Morrison Residence Hall, said he has been stuck in elevators in Davis, Kenan Laboratories and Morrison.
Housing will be starting an elevator project next summer — Craige Residence Hall is already slated to get upgrades to its elevator. Bradley said students should let their resident adviser know if they are experiencing any trouble with the elevators in their dorms.