Changeless Laundry Service Changes Dorm Life

Ellen Hoffman, Editor-in-Chief

Students will no longer have to beg roommates and friends for spare quarters to wash and dry their clothes.

Facilities will eliminate the change machines from the existing washing machines in all of the dorms during summer break.

University president Dr. Thomas Botzman made unlimited laundry service one of his initiatives before the school year even began, according to Eric Nelson, Vice President of Finance and Administration.

The previous college Botzman worked for offered unlimited laundry service, so he wanted to make wash day more convenient for students.

Nelson said the machines are all fairly modern, some more than others, similar to machines in the newest building on campus, MacDowell Hall.

“MacDowell Hall got all brand new equipment so they are the newest,” he said. “But, we renewed the contract about three years ago so most of the other machines are only three years old, but there still might be a machine out there that’s a little older than that.”

The company that provides the laundry service on campus tracks the machines regularly, and Nelson said once machines reach a certain age, the company switches them out and replaces them.

The Maytag Neptune machines are energy-efficient and low on water usage, great for unlimited laundry, he said.

Nelson had to break the existing contract and rewrite it to include new service so the change would be in place for the next school year.

The company that provides laundry service required a guarantee that it would make the same amount of profit without the change machines. Nelson and other university officials decided the best option was to absorb the fees into the budget.

“Now, overall, the cost will have to be covered in the budget somehow,” Nelson said. “The reason  for that, the company makes money on it because they’re the provider of the service so it’s how they make their money. Now the university is paying for it so we had to guarantee them the same amount of profit that they normally made.”

Sophomore physical therapy major Kelsey Langan is looking forward to not having to lug a bag full of quarters back to campus next school year.

“Running out of quarters and having to bum some off of your friends and roommates isn’t fun. It will be much less of a hassle.”

Not only will students no longer have to feed the machines, they will know when their loads are finished thanks to a smart monitoring system.

“They’ll be doing network drops in all of the laundry rooms,” Nelson said. “Then the machines will communicate with the person using the laundry and it will tell you what the status of the laundry is, and it can either send you the status viaa computer or a smart phone app, and then it will also text you when the machine is done.”
“I will definitely use the app because it’s a great reminder and will prevent lines from forming for each machine,” Langan said.

Nelson is unsure how the tracking will work, but he believes it will somehow incorporate student IDs.

“I don’t know exactly the technology on the machines themselves. I haven’t seen one yet. I don’t know if you’ll have to swipe your ID. I don’t know how it work,s but it will be somehow tied into an app so that you know when your machine

is done,” he said.

AJ Nudo, Assistant Director of Residence Life, said it would be nice if the machines could somehow show a record of who uses them – whether the information is tracked with a student ID or a different way. He said that in the past, a machine would break and no one would know what happened because no one knew how to find the person who last used it. So, facilities members or residence life staff would find a washer filled with water and not know how long it was there. He said a system like an ID swipe would “more accurately report problems.”

Nudo also said a nice feature would be to have students know which machines are in use, similar to what he experienced with his laundry services in college.

“It would send you a text when your laundry is done and again, it’s a nice service to have,” he said. “So you’re not lugging your stuff down to the laundry room and then you’re like, ‘Oh my god, everything is in use. I have to take everything back upstairs.’ You’ll be able to know and see what is available.”

Some students who live on campus this semester, and will not return semester, are jealous of the new system.

Sophomore speech language pathology student Abriel McCann said she thinks the new laundry system will benefit everyone on wash day.

“I can’t even count the amount of times that I forgot about my laundry and then when I remembered to get it, somebody had already taken it out and put it on the counter,” she said. “I definitely would’ve benefited from that.”

McCann has lived on campus the past two years but is moving off for her junior year. She said she can’t count the number of times she had problems with change in the laundry machines.

“I know so many people who have gotten coins jammed in the machines, which makes them not usable for anybody else trying to use that machine,” she said. “In a building where there are only a few machines on the floor, it got very frustrating.”

While Langan doesn’t know if the unlimited service and technology will make her do laundry more frequently, she is excited that it will be less of an inconvenience.

“I don’t think this will tempt me to do laundry more often. It will just make it less of a pain.”

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