‘Free’ laundry an easy choice for College

The College has decided to try something new with the laundry situation this fall – no more quarters.

According to Mark Mehler, assistant director for the Office of Auxiliary Services, the switch from coin-operated machines to coinless machines is not uncommon for many colleges and universities.

“A lot of schools have done it,” Mehler said. “Our contractor, Caleco, goes that route and we decided it was time.”

“It was a pretty easy decision,” he added.

Students on campus have mixed feelings about the new laundry set-up.

Priya Kumar, sophomore biology major, said, “I’m a bit skeptical. It seems like a scam-nothing is ever for free.”

In order to keep the laundry non-coin operated, the price for laundry is being added into the room and board fee that accompanies tuition.

“We had to incorporate the cost into how much it is costing the College,” Mehler said. “However, the student’s cost is the minimum.”

What Mehler and the rest of Auxiliary Services wanted to avoid was creating an extra fee for the laundry.

An example for this would be the Student Center fee.

Instead, students will be paying for everything included in residential living: a bed, a dresser, a desk and laundry services.

With the laundry cost included with the rest of the living costs, the increase of the room and board fee is raised about three to four percent.

Before the switch could take place, advantages and disadvantages such as cost, efficiency and convenience for students had to be weighed.

“I hated using coins as a student.” Mehler said. “There were so many problems, such as being out of money or the machines being broken.”

Mehler heard the same complaints from many students on campus, which helped him make the decision.

Some machines were also installed in addition to the previous washers and dryers.

Some machines have changed from top to front load washers, and the appliances are more environmentally friendly.

The new washers use less water and electricity and take less time to wash a load.

Additionally, students can fit more laundry into the newer models.

According to Mehler, these machines are more ethical – utility wise.

Since the contract with Caleco is not long term, feedback for this new service is important.

About twice a year, surveys from all contractors are given to students in order to get feedback.

Laundry service will now be included in the surveys.

“The few students that we talked to thought it was a great idea,” Mehler said. “Residence Life was also ecstatic about the idea.”

Michael Robbins, residence director for Travers Hall, said the new laundry situation is “entirely new, but the first-years seem to like it.”

Residence Life hopes the new laundry situation will encourage more students to stay on campus and not take laundry home on weekends.