Laundry Now Free for Students Living on Campus

New washers and dryers in dorms will save money for students and the University.

<p>Students do laundry in McMahon Residence Hall. Photo by Jessica Tommaselli</p>
Students do laundry in McMahon Residence Hall. Photo by Jessica Tommaselli

There’s no longer an excuse for bringing laundry home to mom and dad: doing laundry is now free for all students living on the Storrs campus.

Since at least 1960, UConn had outsourced its laundry services to a private company. Students were charged $1.25 for every load of laundry they did and another $1.25 for drying. To pay for it, students needed to add money known as “HuskyBucks” to their student ID card and then swipe the card to use the washers and dryers; this ran each student about $50 to $75 a semester.

“We began reviewing the business models and took a look at what other universities were doing regarding laundry service,” said Steve Kremer, assistant vice president for residential life. “It became clear that outsourcing laundry was actually more expensive both for the University and for our students than doing it in-house.”

Rather than renew the contract when it expired earlier this year, Residential Life made the decision to expand the in-house laundry program it had begun in the on-campus apartments. The department purchased 240 washers and about 300 dryers and outfitted them in dorms across campus.

Kremer says doing laundry in-house is not only more cost-effective for UConn, but also more energy-efficient and environmentally conscious, since the new machines use less power and water.

And students no longer have to pay for the service.

“We were able to cover the costs of this through existing student room fees, so there will be no additional charge for students to do their laundry,” says Kremer, who credits Residential Life employees Logan Trimble, Richard Watson, and Ray HeBert for bringing the project to fruition.

Trimble notes that when laundry was outsourced, the company owned the machines and was responsible for fixing them when something went wrong. Now that UConn owns the washers and dryers, maintenance will happen more quickly and efficiently.

“If there’s a problem with a machine, all a student has to do is call the Front Desk at 486-9000 and we’ll be on it,” says Trimble. “If we can’t fix it on the spot, we’ll swap the malfunctioning machine for a new one and fix it later in the shop. This will be faster, cheaper, and more efficient.”

UConn maintenance staff have undergone training on how to repair the machines.

But the prospect of many more students doing their laundry on campus instead of bringing it home raised a question: what if students don’t know how to do their laundry?

“Believe it or not, a number of students arrive at college having never done a load of laundry in their life,” says Kremer. “And so, to avoid complaints of whites turned pink, overflowing machines, and shrunken sweaters, we put how-to posters all over the laundry rooms and made a video on YouTube showing students how to use the machines and do their laundry.”

There is one catch, though: students will still have to purchase their own detergent and dryer sheets.