Sweaty students, rejoice! … For now.
Laundry machines on campus, which students previously had to pay to use, will remain free for the rest of the fall semester. Typically costing between $2.75 and $3.00 to wash and dry a load, the old laundry system required students to first purchase a $2.00 reusable laundry card.
According to Director of Business Services Matthew Curran, the third-party vendor that handles laundry transactions, CSC Laundry, has changed its control system, and the college is in the process of transitioning to the new program. Come J-Term, students will have to pay for laundry services with their student ID cards, he said.
Curran said that Business Services had intended to charge students for laundry this fall, but they encountered difficulties using the student IDs as a payment method.
“While going through this process, it was determined that the data needed to be on the ID cards to procure laundry services was more difficult to upload than originally thought,” Curran said.
Throughout the summer, CSC Laundry changed its charging system in laundry units across campus. The result was that select locations had washing machines and dryers running free of charge.
According to Torre Davy ’21, who was on campus over the summer, one washing machine and dryer duo in Meeker House was free, while other machines in the building required the usual pay-card method. Now, none of the machines in the building require any payment to function, as is the case across campus.
Many students rejoiced in learning that their first few loads of laundry this academic year would be free. Vanessa Young ’20 said she hopes to run more laundry loads before having to pay again.
“It’s amazing to have free laundry,” Young said. “I’ve split my load into two each time I’ve gone, but I would have previously shoved the same amount of laundry into one washer.”
For some, a free laundry system isn’t entirely new. Varsity athletes enjoy free laundry in the Athletic Center, but the services are limited to athletic clothing during their season. Young, who plays for the women’s basketball team, said the washer and dryer unit that runs athletic apparel often leaves her clothes damp and musty.
“We aren’t ungrateful for having laundry, but we end up having to spend money still by washing stuff in the dorms during the season,” she said.
Natalia Santiago ’23 hopes laundry will remain free beyond winter break. Santiago said she often has to run the dryer twice to completely dry her clothes, and her bedding requires an entirely separate cycle.
“Paying for laundry would be such a burden because these washers and dryers do not work to their maximum potential,” she said. “I don’t want to pay over three dollars on one round of laundry for it to be sub-par quality.”
Cost is not the only barrier to easy laundry access. Laundry rooms are scattered across campus, and not all residential buildings have machines. Notably, students living in Battell, the biggest first-year dorm, must trek to the expansive laundry complex in Forest Hall’s basement.
Students have also complained that the machines used to load money onto laundry cards are distant from many laundry rooms, and that the machines require cash to add more value onto the cards.
Curran ensured that any money on current laundry cards will be transferrable to students’ ID cards when the new system launches. Although the Business Services office has no official plan yet, Curran said they are anticipating students may be able to submit their current laundry cards and ID numbers for the College to add value on their behalf.
“Students should hold onto the old laundry cards for the time being,” he said.