New laundry machines installed in all campus dorms will raise the price of a load by 35 cents but will ensure more reliable service and provide a Web service to notify users by email or text message when their laundry is done or when a machine becomes available, according to Director of Housing and Dining Julie Weber.
Housing and Dining decided on the new service because the contract with the previous service, Hof Laundry Systems, expired and students complained that the machines malfunctioned frequently. The company, which has provided AU’s laundry service for more than 20 years, was slow to repair equipment when it broke, students reported.
“When we get that many complaints about something, we need to change it,” said Weber, who said the subject of the laundry service came up many of the times she met with resident assistants.
The accompanying Web site, american.esuds.net, allows students to check the status of machines and sign up for notifications, which could also be sent via instant message in the future. AU is the first school in the District to use the eSuds service.
A wash will cost $1.50 and drying will cost $1.25 in the new machines, run by Caldwell and Gregory, Inc. The rate is guaranteed for four years. A load through the washer and dryer cost $1.20 each with the previous laundry service.
“I think that students who think this through will probably be okay with [a price increase],” said Will Mount, president of the Resident Hall Association. He knows students won’t want to pay more, “but they will be happy with the actual laundry service.”
Weber agrees that students will be able to deal with a raise in price.
“Our students are pretty understanding. Everyone knows what the cost of utilities and gas has done in the past few years, and of course washers and dryers run on utilities,” she said.
Caldwell and Gregory agreed to give RHA $500 toward its Chipotle night in the Letts Game Room Aug. 29. The company will co-sponsor other events throughout the year.
The company installed about 150 each of washers and dryers, installed new card readers and refurbished laundry rooms with new light fixtures, sinks and other accessories. The washers will save 2 million gallons of water each year and the dryers will use 30 percent less electricity.
The contract is for five years with one year renewals based on performance. If the service doesn’t live up to expectations, Housing and Dining can reconsider the contract, Weber said. The new service includes Tenley Campus, but Park Bethesda is under a different contract with another company that doesn’t expire for several years.