Editorial: Free laundry is a win for the Brandeis community
When the Department of Community Living posted housing lottery numbers, it advertised a plan to make laundry “free” starting next school year, based on the results of its SkyFactor survey. On March 13, each student enrolled in the housing lottery received an email informing them that their number had been posted and that use of the laundry facilities would be free from Fall 2019 on, an initiative this board commends.
Paying for laundry on campus has been a hassle for many students. Often, campus card readers are broken, as students unplug them and plug them back in in an attempt to get free laundry cycles. This also poses a safety hazard and can lead to the machines catching on fire. Students often arrive at the laundry room assuming the machines are working only to discover that they are not. If this happens, they must either return to their dorm to get quarters — or, they must always keep quarters on them when they need to do their laundry. According to Managing Director of Auxiliary and Campus Card Services Gino Galutera, in an interview with the Justice, , the University will not require students to use cards or quarters to complete laundry washer or dryer cycles..
In addition to convenience, a “free” laundry system decreases the risk of fire due to students attempting to lower the cost of their laundry by unplugging and replugging in laundry machines. While this practice lowers the price of laundry, it poses a serious fire hazard. If students are not forced to pay each time they do their laundry, the fire risk will decrease. One remaining fire hazard, however, is students neglecting to take the lint out of the lint trap before starting a dry cycle. According to a Oct. 25, 2019 email from Maira Pantoja, the North Quad Area Coordinator, there was a significant amount of smoke in the Cable Hall laundry room as a result of such neglect. Students were forced to evacuate the building, as a result.
In order to make this initiative a reality, Galutera said that to his knowledge, laundry will be included in student room and board fees and only paid by students who live on campus, although the total effect this will have on room and board costs has not been determined. Although this is a positive step for the Brandeis campus in terms of student convenience, this board encourages to the University to look at potential consequences of this free laundry initiative, including off-campus students washing their clothing on campus free of charge.
On the whole, the free laundry initiative is beneficial, and this board commends the University for taking the SkyFactor survey results seriously and acting quickly.