Free Laundry Causes Problems for Underclassmen

Katherine Castellano  
Contributing Writer

Many UD underclassmen have paid the price waiting for a laundry machine because more students are taking advantage of the free service.

The university began offering free laundry as part of an upgrade to the machines with the washer and dryer company. In previous years, students in dorms paid, which forced many to complete fewer loads of laundry.

The university said the problem is not a lack of machines, but an increase in the number of loads of laundry.

Director of Housing Operations at UD, James Froehlich, said students are not taking their finished laundry out of the machines, resulting in other students removing that person’s personal items. Froehlich also said that when students had to pay for laundry, they felt responsibility in completing the process. Now that it’s free, it doesn’t have the same level of importance.

“We have seen this problem happen more this year than in previous years,” Froehlich said. “[Before] money was coming out of your pocket to pay for the laundry, and there was a certain amount of respect people had for others that were using the machines. [Now] they are letting their clothes sit longer. If it sits in there for three hours and gets a wet smell to it, you re-run it through the machine because you don’t have to pay to do it again.”

Froehlich said he hopes to address the lack of respect students have for leaving laundry in machines on the January Quarter Sheet, which are hand-outs given to students at Community Building meetings that inform them of things happening on campus.

Sophomore Brooke Gronemeier, who lives in Virginia Kettering Hall (VWK), complained that the university does not provide enough machines for students.

When referring to VWK, Froehlich said these underclassmen residents can take their laundry to another facility. According to Gronemeier, doing so is a last resort.

“My initial reaction would be, ‘Darn it, I have to wait,’ not ‘go find another machine in a different room,’” Gronemeier said. “The only time I would go to another laundry room is if I had a specific outfit that needed to be washed right away.”    

Marycrest resident Cate Capuano said laundry is most difficult on Sundays because almost none of the machines are available. “I have better luck on Wednesdays,” Capuano said.

Marycrest Complex

Froehlich said the number of machines is roughly proportionate to the specific living area or building. In each of the residence halls, there was not an exact count of washers and dryers nor was there an exact count for the number of residents living in the dorms. However, front desk supervisors were able to give approximations.

Marycrest provides about 60 machines for about 900 students. The ratio of machines to students is 1-to-15. Founders provides 12 dryers and about 12 washers for about 400 students. The ratio of machines to students is 3-to-50.

Stuart provides 22 dryers and 19 washers for about 900 students. VWK has a ratio of 44 machines per 615 students.

Gronemeier said now that it’s free, laundry is more challenging to complete because there are not enough machines for students in these residence halls to use.

The university announced it has plans to expand free laundry machines in the Student Neighborhood.

Over the last two summers, the university has increased washers and dryers from 40 percent of student houses to 60 percent of them. At the end of last summer, there were about 245 washers and dryers in the Student Neighborhood. The goal is that by next summer there will be 275 houses that have washers and dryers. These are free for students to use. Overall, 260 out of 433 houses in the Student Neighborhood are equipped with washers and dryers.

 “The university’s goal is to have washers and dryers 100 percent equipped in the Student Neighborhood,” Froehlich said. “However, five to ten percent of university houses cannot have washers and dryers added because of their structure.”

For upperclassmen who live in houses without laundry, Campus South, Lawnview Apartments and East Stewart Gardens are available. Froehlich said the university has not seen an increase in upperclassmen who use these facilities.

Froehlich said Housing Operations will receive feedback from the washer and dryer company at the end of the school year. This information will verify if the university’s prediction that more loads of laundry have been completed by the same number of underclassmen is accurate.

Photo taken from Wikipedia 

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